I’ve been baking pie crusts from scratch for years, but I was never completely satisfied with the results. Thanks to tips from CampariGirl and Emmy as well as using proper (pastry, low-gluten) flour I am now finally happy. I made this pear tart based on CampariGirl’s recipe for peach tart and the crust was perfect: crunchy and flaky, even under the moist filling. This is a a very simple but lovely dessert: tender fragrant sweet pears on a great crust. Nothing fancy, but who needs fancy if simple tastes this good? Feel free to make this with another type of seasonal fruit like apples or indeed peaches.
3 pears (ripe but firm)
250 grams (1 1/2 cups) pastry flour
125 + 40 grams (1 stick + 3 Tbsp) butter
(Please note that the amounts in cups and sticks is slightly less than in grams, but it will be enough and in the correct ratio of flour to butter while it is easier than measuring 8.8 Tbsp butter and 1.56 cups flour)
2 + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
apricot jam (4-6 Tbsp)
bit of lemon juice
Try to roll out the dough in a circular shape that is big enough for your pie dish including the sides. (So for a 27 cm (11″) pie dish with 2.5 cm (1″) sides, you need a circle with a diameter of 32 cm (13″).
Let the dough in the shape rest for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Many recipes specify to let the dough rest before rolling it out, but it is much more difficult to roll out the dough when it’s cold. This is a tip I picked up from CampariGirl. Letting the dough rest helps to relax the gluten, so the crust won’t shrink and will be more flaky and crunchy.
Bake for 15 minutes at 190C/375F. This is another idea that I picked up from CampariGirl: 190C/375F works better than 180C/350F.
This step is called ‘blind baking’, since the pie is baked first without the fruit. This is done to get a crunchy pie crust rather than a soggy one.
Peel the pears while the pie is baking, cut each pear into 8 wedges, and remove the core. Sprinkle some lemon juice on the pears to prevent them from turning brown.
There will be quite a bit of liquid but that is normal. Most of it will turn solid when the tart cools off.
If served just like that, pair with Moscato d’Asti.
If served with ice cream, pair with Moscato Passito or fortied Muscat/Moscatel.
If served with blue cheese, serve with Sauternes.