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Autumn Pear Tart

The delicate flavor of pears is underscored with cinnamon and a smooth fig puree in this autumnal treat. Adapted from The Mediterranean Dish.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cooling time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Dessert
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

Filling

  • 8-10 pears
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup fig preserves (the majority of one 10oz jar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons fig preserves (remainder of the 10oz jar)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions
 

  • Rearrange your oven racks, ensuring one is in the second-from-top position, and one is in the middle slot. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your tart pan.
  • Combine salt, flour and sugar.
  • Melt butter, then mix it with your vanilla bean paste.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients. The batter should resemble cookie dough.
  • Transfer dough to greased tart pan. Press batter into the pan so that it is of a (relatively) consistent thickness along the bottom and up the sides.
  • Place crust on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes; it should be golden brown when it is finished. Remove from oven and allow to cool; leave your oven on.
  • Slice 4-5 pears, discarding the cores. (These pears will be going on top of your tart, so keep the pieces as uniform and attractive as possible. See photos for guidance.)
  • Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once it has melted, add pear slices and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover. Cook until pears are barely tender (2-3 minutes). Once cooked, pour pear slices onto a plate and allow to cool..
  • Dice your remaning pears, discarding the core. (These will be turning into puree - there's no need for them to be pretty.)
  • In the same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add diced pears, 2/3 cup of your fig jam, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Stir fig and pear mixture frequently, until pears are very tender. Then, use an immersion blender to macerate into a sauce, being careful of hot spatters. (If you don't have an immersion blender, a large fork or potato masher will also suffice, though you will end up with larger chunks.)
  • Cook sauce for 5-10 minutes, reducing heat to low once the sauce begins to simmer. You may need to repeat your blending/mashing if the texture isn't to your liking; I prefer mine to look like apple butter when it is finished.
  • Once sauce has reduced, remove from heat allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before spreading evenly in your cooled crust.
  • Arrange your cooled pear slices in the tart in layers of circles, starting along the outer crust and working your way to the center.
  • Bake your tart on the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  • While the tart is baking, combine remainder of fig jam with 1 tablespoon of water and 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix until it forms a thick slurry. (You may need to heat the fig jam to help it thin out.)
  • Once your tart has finished baking, remove from oven. Brush its surface with the fig liquid using a pastry brush.
  • Place the tart on the second-from-top rack of your oven and broil on "low" for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully. You want your pears to caramelize but not to burn.
  • Remove from oven; cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Once completely cool, cut tart into 8 slices and serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.
Keyword fruit, pear, tart