Isn’t it amazing how one well chosen adjective can make a dish sound irresistible? Once a marketer, always a marketer. My days slogging hours devising marketing strategies in a little cubicle are long behind me, but my fascination with the power of words has never left me. I get almost as much joy picking apart restaurant menus, hunting for rich words, as I do eating the food when it arrives. Words that celebrate the men and women who grew the food, that paint a canvas of golden fields and years of tradition, have a way of making the most basic dishes sound more appetizing.
Today, in celebration of the power of words, I give you the recipe for a Rustic Pear Tart. It could just as easily be called Quick and Easy Pear Pie, but that wouldn’t sound nearly as appealing. Pear Tart with a Rich Hand Tossed Butter Crust would also be a longer, but equally appropriate option.
This pear pie does come together very quickly and it tastes amazing. The crust is crumbly and buttery and matches well with the sweet pears. We had some friends over for dinner on Sunday night and I got this pie in the oven in 15 minutes. As we ate, it filled the house with the mouth watering aroma of caramelizing fruit. By the time we were ready for dessert, it was piping hot and the perfect vehicle to melt a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Call it rustic, call it easy, no matter how you describe it, this pear tart is delicious.
Serves: 10 slices
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp baking powder
8 tbsps (1 stick) of butter
2 to 3 tbsps cold water
4 just ripe pears, peeled and coarsely sliced
¼ cup of apple jelly
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse 2 or 3 times quickly to mix.
Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and add to food processor. Pulse over and over again very quickly until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. You should not be able to see any more large pieces of butter.
Scatter 1 tablespoon of tap water on the butter and flour mixture and pulse 5 to 6 times. The dough should begin to hold together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Remove the dough from the food processor. In your hands, roll it into a uniform ball. Place it on a silpat or countertop sprinkled with flour and roll it out with a floured rolling pin. Then press it and shape it into a greased pie pan.
I'm not a great pie dough roller outer. Often, to save time, I just gather the dough into a rough ball and just push it into place with my fingertips, using a smooth glass in the middle to really get it thin.
Peel and slice the pears into ½ inch slices. Arrange the slices to cover the pie crust.
Spoon apple jelly over the pear slices and spread as best you can to cover the pear slices.
Cook the pie for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pears are lightly caramelized.