Gorgeous Ginger Pear Tart
When pears are in season, you have to cherish them, and fast. Pears seem to only flourish in their prime for a few days once brought home, scolding you if you hesitate to devour them quickly enough. My dad recently purchased an entire flat of Bartlett pears from Costco, and I instantly racked my brain for delicious recipes. Bright salads, sauces, and pastries danced around my head all day. Finally I decided to attempt baking with puff pastry for the first time. This tart is visually beautiful, wonderful for entertaining and really impressing your guests. Ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar bring out the sweetness of the fresh pears, and they are cradled in a delicate puff pastry.
This was my first time working puff pastry, and all I could think of was Alton Brown’s old show Good Eats, which focused on the scientific reasons behind cooking and food’s reactions to certain techniques. It was one of my favorite shows while growing up, and I remember him testing out different techniques for cutting puff pastry so as not to damage the layers. The best tool for the job was a pizza cutter! It provided even pressure with quick cuts. For this tart, you don’t need to do much cutting at all, in fact, I didn’t even need to cut my puff pastry sheet because it broke off into the size I needed when it thawed from the freezer.
Don’t let the pictures intimidate you, this beauty is simple to put together. Let’s get cookin :)
What You Need: (Serves 4-6)
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (usually sold in boxes of 2 sheets)
2-3 pears, sliced thinly
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sanding sugar
What To Do:
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Place one sheet of puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Puff pastry usually comes folded in thirds, with paper in between each folded layer for easy separating. For this tart, you will be using 2/3 of the puff pastry. It’s ok if it breaks along the fold lines. Let it thaw out, but keep in mind that you want to be working with it while it is still cold. Once it has thawed out, place the puff pastry on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Using a paring knife, gently score the puff pastry in a frame-like border, ¾" in from each edge of the pastry. You don’t want to cut into the pastry, only score the surface of the pastry. This will help the edges of the tart rise around the pears.
- Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, ginger, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Be sure to mix it very well. The brown sugar will cause the mixture to thicken up in a gel-like consistency. If it thickens too much while you’re working, you can pop it in the microwave for 5 seconds to loosen it up.
- Wash and slice your pears, and use a sharp paring knife to slice off thin, even pieces of fruit, about 3/8" wide. If you’d like to prevent the slices from turning brown while you work, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on them.
- Brush the top of the pastry sheet with the butter mixture. Layer the pear slices on top of the puff pastry, within the ¾" scored border. I chose to layer them in alternating directions, creating a beautiful pattern that makes this tart very special.
- Brush the top of the pears with the rest of the butter mixture, and sprinkle the tart with the sanding sugar.
- Bake the tart for 15-18 minutes or until the pastry turns golden brown. Serve the tart warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Simple, tasty, and absolutely gorgeous. I am thinking of trying this with a layer of sweetened cream cheese underneath the pears next time, making it like a fruit danish :P The ginger brings out the flavor of the pears and makes this tart taste sophisticated, and now you know that it’s not that complicated to make :)