Tenderness can have many meanings. Sure it can be used to describe the quality of a pastry used when making tarts, or to describe the careful way to treat someone dear to you or someone in need. Either way, a little tenderness goes a long way. Especially when it comes to King Arthur Flour’s “Bake For Good” initiative, which encourages people to teach others how to make baked goods from scratch, then give those baked goods to someone they think is deserving of a treat from the oven. See our last article titled Bake-For-Good-The-First-Bite for more information. In this second part, we will discuss and show how to make a rustic pear tart using some tips from King Arthur Flour Company.
Recently, Jena and I were discussing what to make for our next Bake For Good segment when it hit me. Almost literally! I needed to make a pear tart for a photo shoot a couple of weeks ago and while making it, I said to myself “self, let’s make two tarts with one crust.” I thought that sounded a little less violent than the two birds saying that’s used so often. Anyway, why not utilize the same tart that I made for the shoot for this article? After all, everyone knows that a food stylist would never make anything that wasn’t edible, right? (fingers crossed). The tart itself was really less my idea and more from a talented stylist I work with who gave me the recipe. I have adapted it to suit my own needs. Feel free to do the same. Use the crust for a tart, a pie, or a pasty(cornish that is). Heck, just roll out the dough, brush it with butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. It’s all good in love and baking. Also, feel free to substitute apples, peaches, cherries, or perhaps that seasonal red fruit getting ready to pop called rhubarb.
To start, as with most good pie dough recipes, there are a few basics that need to be mentioned. One, always use quality ingredients. I love using King Arthur products because they don’t bleach their flour, which gives the finished product a much better flavor. Two, always use a cold fat. I used good old fashioned unsalted Wisconsin butter from Grassland for this recipe. Their Wuthrich European style butter is the bomb. It also won 1st place in the American Cheese Society Competition. Your mom may have used shortning, and lard may be preferred by serious grandmas everywhere. I’m not going to start a debate about which one is better here. You can find a link on that discussion at: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2013/11/23/butter-vs-shortening For this tart, I substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour from King Arthur’s standard pie dough recipe, which calls for only all-purpose flour. See recipe here I did this because I didn’t want the dough to sag or get too brittle. Plus I wanted a little more flavor that the all-purpose was going to give me. However, if it’s a perfectly flaky tender crust you’re after, here’s the best visuals I can offer. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2013/10/02/pie-any-way-you-slice-it Susan Reid was our instructor at a recent class in Minneapolis. Trust me, she knows her stuff.
I think what I like about this tart is it’s simplicity. Roll out your dough, toss the wonderful bosc pears with a little sugar, vanilla and marmalade, then spoon it down the middle and fold the crust in around it. Sprinkle with ground almonds. Throw it in the oven and bake until golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you wish and enjoy. This is the kind of tart anybody can make. If making piecrust seems daunting, then just remember how clueless you were when you had your first child. Heck, I remember looking at my son and saying “where’s the manual?”. Pie dough is way easier than raising kids. Get them involved and you can rid them of the same fear you may have had for years. If that doesn’t help, remember this. Every time you step out of your comfort zone, it gets a little bigger. Get out there and bake people. The next recipe will be on French baguettes. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone. Baguettes aren’t even in the same country as I am. Should be fun. Until next time, remember to bake with love and live to bake.
- 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, King Arthur Brand
- 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour, King Arthur Brand
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and divided in half
- 3 ounces ice water
- 2 1/2 ounces ground almonds
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3 ea firm bosc pears (brown), cored, sliced
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade, warmed slightly
- 1 ea egg white, beaten
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- For tart crust: In a medium size bowl, combine flours and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Cut in with pastry blender or your fingers until size of peas. Cut remaining butter into larger pieces and add to flour and butter mixture. Cut in butter, leaving pieces a little larger(cranberry sized). Add ice water over flour and mix just until slightly moist and mixture sticks together when squeezed with your hand. It will still seam very dry. Transfer dough to parchment lined work surface. Press into a slightly flattened rectangle. Using a spritz bottle, spritz top of dough 3-4 times with ice water. Fold over dough on both sides like a book. Spritz dough 3-4 more times. Repeat folding again. form into a 1” thick rectangle. Place dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- For tart filling: In a medium size bowl, combine 2 Tbl. of sugar, vanilla and orange marmalade. toss to coat. Set aside while you roll out dough.
- To make tart: Remove tart dough from refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled with a light dusting of all-purpose flour. Place dough in center of paper and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll our dough into a rectangle about 8″X17″. Trim edges with a knife. Combine remaining sugar and all but 2 Tbsp. of almonds in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture down center of tart dough. Place reserved pears in a row down the center over sugar and almonds, leaving about 3 inches on each end. Fold ends in over pears, then fold sides in over pears, leaving center of pears exposed. Brush dough with egg white, making sure to seal sides with ends. Sprinkle remaining almonds over top of tart. Carefully slide parchment onto a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet. Refrigerate tart for 15-20 minutes. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar if desired and serve.