With a light, crisp pastry & a moist, nutty filling, this pear & walnut tart makes the perfect ending for wintery nights’ entertaining & a rustic, totally make-ahead dessert for the holiday season.
I first made this pear tart – ‘tarte aux poires Normande’, when I was at culinary school back in Australia. Traditionally it’s made with almond meal but when my crew & I visited a walnut farm for an episode of my show – Simple, Fresh, Delicious, I decided to switch almond for walnut & made the tart on my show. It was a HUGE hit (mainly with the crew who devoured everything I made right after we finished filming a recipe). I need to dig out he video & link it to this post because I just know ya’ll want to see me cook this – right! Right??
First you need to make your own pastry. I’m not going to tell you to buy pastry if you’re too nervous (or maybe lazy) to make your own, although there’s no shame in bought pastry, I do it too, but this pastry is perfection – crisp, slightly sweet, easy to make & handle so take the little extra time & make your own. If you have a food processor, it makes the job easier.
If the truth be told, I don’t always blind-bake this pastry. Today I did & I’ve written it into the recipe accordingly. When I made this tart at culinary school I didn’t blind-baked the pastry the original recipe doesn’t call for it. Over the years I’ve changed the method. Blind baking ensures a crisp, golden crust.
You can’t buy walnut meal like you can almond meal (not that I’ve ever seen it) so blitz walnuts in a food processor. Just promise me the walnuts will be fresh. I buy Kirkland walnuts from Costco because they’re the best I’ve tried. They come in a large bag so I store them in the freezer. Walnuts go rancid fast & your nose should be the judge so smell them if you can’t remember when you bought them or they’re not stored in the freezer.
Use two or three pears, depending on their size. Just have them at the perfect ripeness, neither too hard nor too soft Goldilocks.
While the tart is still warm, brush it with warmed apricot jam – not an absolute necessity, but certainly traditional. If you don’t want to buy apricot jam especially for this recipe, then a dusting of icing sugar will suffice.
Then serve the tart with big dollops of whipped or clotted cream. A must.
The tart is served cold which means it’s make-ahead. You know how much we all love make-ahead recipes – especially when entertaining.
Pear & walnut tart is perfect for the cooler months & especially fitting for the holiday dessert table. And because it’s make-ahead you’re left more time for organizing the rest of your festive menu. Speaking of holiday menu, I’m deboning a turkey today – every single bone & piece of sinew. It’s a labor of love but worth it, even if it is just my hubby & me who’ll be enjoying it. But before turkey deboning, my lunchtime bike ride is in order – part of my quest for health & vitality. I best hop to it. It’s windy & cold so wish me luck. Until next time, toodles, Lovoni xo
A PIC FOR PINTEREST SHARING
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose (plain) flour
- 1/2 cup (125g/4oz) butter, chilled
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon iced water
- 1 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 3/4 cup (175g/6oz) butter, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- 2 to 3 small ripe pears, peeled, halved & cored*
- Place flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and process until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add yolks and water and process until mixture just comes together. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and gently press into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll pastry onto lightly floured surface until it is large enough to fit a shallow10-inch (24cm) tart pan with a removable base. Carefully lift pastry into pan. Trim off excess pastry. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the tart pan with parchment paper over pastry & half fill with dried legumes such as lentils or chickpeas. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove parchment paper and beans. Bake a further 10 minutes; cool.
- To make the filling, place walnuts in a food processor and process until very fine meal-like crumbs that’ll resemble coarse, wet sand.
- Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until well combined, do not over-mix, you don’t want to cream the mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla & flour. Scrape mixture into cooled pastry case and smooth top.
- Slice pears crossways into thin slices. Separate the slices slightly and place on top of tart. If the pears are a little larger you might only be able to fit 4 halves (like I did in the pictures). Bake for about 50 minutes in preheated oven until filling is brown & set. The centre may still a little soft. Let stand on cake rack before refrigerating for at about 8 hours, or overnight before serving. Serve with whipped or clotted cream. Serves 8.
- * I use a melon baller to remove cores from pears.