November is my favorite month of the year. The holiday season has officially started; malls are already bustling with shoppers; coffee shops are filled with the aroma of pumpkiny and cinnamony latte drinks YUM; homes will soon display their beautiful holiday lights; and dinners and gatherings with favorite people and dishes will soon commence. O how I salivate just thinking about the different food possibilities I’ll be cooking up in the next few weeks!!! By the way, are you signed up to receive my recipes and updates? Leave me your e-mail here!
Yes, I do love November because of all the above. But why else, do you think? Take a guess. It’s my BIRTHDAY month! Can I get a virtual high five for this Scorpion turning thirty-something years young? You didn’t think I’ll actually tell you my age, did ya? 😉
To celebrate this o-so-special month, I decided to challenge myself to baking something different. If you’ve been following my blog, you probably noticed that I lean towards cooking rather than baking. Know why? To me, cooking is a lot less about measurements than it is about personal taste and creativity. Although baking is an equally creative process, it feels more restrictive to someone like me who is not so good at following recipes (or any kind of instructions for that matter).
But, I have a HUGE sweet tooth, so I do occasionally like to treat myself to a homemade dessert. The other day, I was looking through the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and I came across a beautiful French apple tart. At first glance, I thought to myself, this looks complicated. And because I am so averse to following recipes, I quickly turned the page.
A few hours later, I was looking in my fridge when my large bag of pears stared back at me demanding action. Fine, why the heck not!? I decided that I’ll just go ahead and try my hands at a pear tart. And while I’m at it, I could use some of my good fig preserves! Remember how much I love figs?
I’d like to think of my pear tart as the yummier cousin of the Cook’s Illustrated apple tart 🙂 Sorry, I’m biased toward pears. But thanks for the no-fuss crust recipe, which of course I tweaked a little! Trust me, friends, you’ll want to know how to make this easy no-fuss crust, it will change your baking life!
So I did make my French pear tart recipe. The result? A total WIN! Absolute perfection in both presentation and taste! I know I’ll be making it again soon. Don’t you think this pear tart would make a great Thanksgiving treat?
PIN this recipe for a holiday treat that will steal the show!
It is easier to make than you think, I promise.
Here is how it goes.
Position one oven rack to middle, and move the second rack to the very top slot. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add melted butter and combine to form dough.
Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. With your hands press dough down to spread on bottom and onto the rims of the pan.
Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown. When ready remove crust from oven and let sit to cool. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, heat the fig preserves in microwave for about 40 seconds. Pour heated fig preserves through a mesh strainer to separate chunks from liquid.
Now, slice five pears into 1/2-inch slices, discarding core.
Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add pear slices and 1 tbsp water. Cover and cook on medium heat until pears are slightly tender; about 3 minutes. Remove pears onto a large platter and let sit to cool.
Take the remaining three pears and cut them in the same manner. Now melt 2 tbsp of butter in previously used cast iron skillet. Add newly-sliced pears, chunks of fig reserves, and salt. Cook on medium heat, covered, for ten minutes; stir occasionally until pears are very tender. Take a potato masher and mash the pears and fig reserves into a puree. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes or until pureed mixture reduces and thickens.
Transfer pear-fig puree onto the now cooled crust; spread evenly.
Now, take the cooled pear slices and begin to assemble them in layered circles, starting at the outer edges.
Place tart on the middle rack of the oven. Bake in 350 degree F-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Warm up the strained liquid fig preserves for 20 seconds in the microwave.When tart is ready, remove from oven and brush surface of the pears evenly with the warmed fig liquid.
Return to oven and place on the top rack. Broil very briefly; watching carefully until pears gain a nice caramelized look.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.
When ready, place the bottom of the tart pan on a wide can of food. Hold the ring part of the pan and carefully slide it downwards.
Cut pear fig tart into eight slices and serve. Enjoy!
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