Not only is this my first Tuesdays with Dorie post, but this is the first post ever on our blog. Yay!

This week Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Dorie Greenspan herself, and she chose the French Pear Tart on page 368-69 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. This tart came out pretty tasty and it was fun to make. My whole family enjoyed it, save Nick who called it banal - thanks honey :roll:.

Follow up:

You can find this recipe online at Dorie's blog In the Kitchen and on the Road with Dorie.

I started with the Sweet Tart Dough (Pâte sablée), which is on page 444. The ingredients are flour, confectioners' sugar, salt. cold or frozen butter, and an egg yolk. When baked, this dough resembles a shortbread. The dough came out fine and really does come together nicely with the moisture of just one egg yolk. I kept pulsing until it started to form a ball, then I dumped it out and kneaded it until the ingredients were just incorporated. I have used this dough in a few other applications before and I think part of Nick's problem with the tart is that he has not liked this dough in anything that I have made with it.

One thing I like about this dough is that it does not require any rolling, you can press it right into the tart pan immediately. I froze it overnight and then blind partial baked it covered with buttered aluminum foil (with no beans or weights since it was frozen). The dough will be baked a second time once the entire tart is assembled.

It did puff up a bit and as Dorie suggests, I just patted down those areas with the back of a spoon and...

all was well. :D At this point, the dough has only had about 25 minutes of baking. For journalistic purposes, I had to taste it so I could report on the level of deliciousness. Come on, there is golden baked dough stuck on the aluminum foil, what else was it there for except to go in my belly. It was really buttery and tender and a little crumbly like a cookie. Since I made the components of this tart over a few days, I covered the pan and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to assemble and bake.

Next up, poaching pears. I used fresh Anjou pears and poached them in the citrus sugar syrup. Try to get pears that are similar in size so they all poach in the same amount of time. This is especially helpful here because you are supposed to cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup.

While the pears were poaching I made the almond cream. The ingredients for the cream are butter, sugar, ground blanched almonds, flour, cornstarch, egg, and vanilla or dark rum (I used vanilla). This is simple to make in the food processor and it was really delicious. I love marzipan and any kind of almondy confection, so this was right up my alley.

I stored all my components in the fridge until I was ready to assemble and then I brought them all to room temperature before proceeding. First, I spread the almond cream into the tart.

Then I prepped the poached pears. I sliced each pear in half and cored it with a melon baller. Then I cut the pears lengthwise starting at the thinner end (the top of the pear). I kept the very top in tact and started my cut about 1/2 inch down from the top. This helped keep them together and allowed them to fan out nicely.

I fanned them out and placed them in the tart with the uncut top part in the center of the shell.

I added a mini fan in the middle of the tart to fill the extra space I had. I ended up only using 2 of the 3 pears that I poached. I could have fit another one in if I had not fanned them out as wide, but I did not feel like redoing it.

Again, here is the final product which I think looked really beautiful. The strawberry was my sister's idea - thanks Em. The cream browned and puffed up nicely and did not overflow. I dusted with confectioners' sugar before serving. However, the actual tart dough lost something in the second baking. The bottom of the crust that was kept moist by the cream and pears was good, but the sides were really dry and hard, not nearly as buttery and tender as my taste after the partial bake. This would have been ever better in a puff pastry crust - but really, what doesn't taste better in puff pastry?