There may be nothing more American than apple pie, but sometimes you have a hankering for a nice pear something-or -other. Especially when presented with a selection of beautiful Seckel pears at the market.
Some might find Seckel pears a little small to snack on, but their size (and consistency and flavor) make them perfect to bake with.
And some might see the word “bake” and presume that there is about to be a refined sugar fest. Not so — this recipe relies on the flavors and natural sugars occurring in fruit, nuts and honey to sweeten the deal. And it’s delicious!
Don’t be put off by the number of steps. Each part is fairly simple, and the whole thing can be done in just over an hour.
A word on goat’s milk: It’s tangy. But also a great partner to sweet caramel and pears. And a better-for-you option than cow’s milk. If you are looking to take this totally vegan, coconut milk substitutions are noted.
Recipe: Pear Tart
2 1/2 cups superfine almond meal
1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil, melted and cooled, but still liquid
1 cup honey (cranberry blossom, if you can find it)
1 can evaporated goat’s milk or full fat coconut milk.
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz goat cheese, softened OR 2 cups strained coconut yogurt
1/4 cup goat milk (omit if using coconut yogurt)
4 tablespoons honey
6 Seckel pears
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Prepare the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, blend almond meal, ghee, egg and salt until a dough forms. Frankly, this works best if you use your hands. But if you are uncomfortable with that method, you can put everything in a food processor fitted with a plastic dough blade and pulse until dough forms.
3. Press dough into prepared tart pan and chill in refrigerator 15 minutes.
4. Once chilled, prick dough with fork and set into oven to bake 20 minutes. You do not need to use pie weights — almond meal doesn’t do that shrinky-thing flour-based doughs do.
5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Prepare the Pears:
1. Rinse, dry and peel the pears. Cut pears in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds from each half.
2. Reserve one half of a pear. Slice rest thinly, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
3. In a medium bowl, toss pears with 2 tablespoons honey, the nutmeg and ginger. Let macerate until ready to assemble.
We would note that this is easy enough, and good enough, to make on a regular basis and keep on hand. But for the purposes of this recipe, make while the dough is doing its chill-and-prebake thing.
1. In a small sauce pan, whisk honey, evaporated milk and vanilla together.
2. Set over medium high heat, let come to a low boil and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, 45 to 50 minutes.
3. Caramel is done when it sticks in soft clumps to the spoon. Yeah, that’s it, really.
Assemble the Tart:
1. Using a hand mixer, beat softened goat cheese with the goat milk and 2 Tablespoons honey. (If using coconut yogurt, just whip the yogurt and honey together.
2. Spread resulting cream into the prepared crust. Pour caramel over the cream.
3. Arrange pears on top, starting with the unsliced half in the middle and overlapping the slices around it in circles. If there is any residual liquid from macerating the pears, pour over top of tart.
4 Bake an additional 25 minutes, until pears are soft.
5. Let cool in pan. Remove outer portion of tart pan