The Thinking 

A Pear Tart

November 19, 2012


Giovanna Garzoni

A COOKED pear is, in my opinion, more subtle and interesting than a cooked apple. The French, being subtle and interesting people, tend to cook pears more often than we do in America. They poach them in wine, roll them in pastry and make puddings with them. Here, thanks to another blogger who takes lots of photos, is a wonderful French pear tart from Patricia Wells’s book, Bistro Cooking. I have made it quite a few times. It is easy to put together and would make a good Thanksgiving dessert. I cut the pears into smaller quarters than is pictured in these photos, in which many of the pears appear to be cut only in half.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I entered this pear tart in a family bake-off once, but took home no prize. Not even an honorable mention. I don’t think that reflects poorly on this recipe because the circumstances did not favor a win for me at all. Several of the judges were under the age of 18. The chocolate-y, gooey, marshmallow-y entries always win at these family bake-offs. (Throw a few bags of chocolate chips and some caramels in a pan; cover it all with condensed milk and graham cracker crumbs — and you’ve got a winner.) Nevertheless, I couldn’t help myself and took my chances with this elegant dessert, which is like something one finds in the sixth arrondissement. Cooking, in its most elevated sense, is an activity of the imagination. This pear tart will take you to Paris at its best.

—- Comments —-

Bruce B. writes:

Pears can be used to make a very good mincemeat for Christmas pie.

Laura writes:

Bien sûr.

Mrs. P. writes:

My husband and I enjoy a simple recipe of baked pears (Bosc variety). I cut the peeled pears in half, remove the woody stems etc. and lay them flat side down in a small baking dish. Then I sprinkle them with a little cinnamon, add some chopped pecans, and finish them off with a healthy splash of maple syrup. I bake them in a moderate oven till tender and serve them warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

I have introduced these baked pears to a few of my grandchildren. They liked them, but they did not rave about them like they do my chocolate chip cookies.

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