I can't believe 2009 is already here! I think 2008, especially the last few months, was the fastest time has ever flown by for me. It seems like we were just celebrating halloween and now it's time for resolutions. For our first TWD treat of 2009 we have the French Pear Tart, chosen by none other than the author of Baking From My Home To Yours, Dorie Greenspan ! Wow, right? I'm sure everybody in the TWD group was just as excited as I was when we learned that our first recipe of the year would be picked by Dorie :)
I ended up making tartlets, I could say because I wanted to use my new silicone mini tartlet pan, or that I wanted to dig out my small tartlet pans with removable bottoms (removable bottoms = more pieces to lose) but honestly I could not find my big tart pan! I know I last saw it in the cabinet above the wall oven but it is not there now. I checked in the attic, in the pantry, and in just about every cabinet in the kitchen and house and have no idea where it has vanished to. Oh-well. I know I haven't used it in ages, maybe it went looking for a new home that would use it more, who knows. The last thing I remember making in it was a banans foster tart in 2003. Guess I need to make some more tarts so my pans stop running away.
I wanted to stay as true to the recipe as possible this time since I figured this must be some special recipe since Dorie picked it, and the only change I made was to slice the pears with a cheese slicer for thin strips since I had the smaller tartlet pans to fill. I even pulled out a small heart cookie cutter and did some heart pears just because I knew my way was lesss aesthetically pleasing than Dorie had envisioned, and hearts make up for just about everything, right?
Everything came together nicely, the only question I had when making this was the tart dough was so crumbly, it never came together and made my food processor kick into high gear, although thanks to Dorie's warning in the recipe, I was ready :)
To be completely honest, I kept asking myself, why this recipe? Why of all the amazing sounding recipes in her book did Dorie choose this French Pear Tart for us to try? I poached my pears (first time poaching fruit), I made the dough, and still had no clue why, then I made the almond cream. Oh my goodness! That was it! I am so not an egg fan, but couldn't resist taking a taste of the almond cream straight from the food processor since it smelled so amazing, wow! Talk about delicious stuff! The energy efficient light bulb above my head went off at that moment, that's why! The almond cream has to be the reason Dorie picked the French Pear Tart!
They baked up perfectly in about twenty minutes at 350, and made the house smell like one of my favorite Yankee Candles (I know, I'm so 1990s, I still love Yankee Candles) -- and tasted delicious! I pulled them out of the oven and showed the pan to my husband and said, "don't these look gorgeous?" he responded with a polite, "they smell good." Yeah, I guess a lot was lost visually in trying to make these smaller, but I'm sure there are many TWD bakers pulled off tartlets that looked much prettier than mine did. They even passed the picky husband test taste wise, wow! Thank you Dorie, for picking a wonderful recipe, and for such an amazing compilation of recipes in your Baking From My Home To Yours book.