Red Wine Pear Tart

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with those you hold near and dear. Our Thanksgiving was held at my sister’s house. Since she was making the turkey and stuffing, it was the responsibility of the rest of us to bring extra sides and desserts. I decided to make a few pies and tarts. Though the prettiest tart I made, hands down, had to be David Lebovitz’s red wine pear tart. The colors of the pears were so ruby red. They were gorgeous.

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This tart is perfect to serve during the holidays. It’s presentation is magnificent and it tastes so good. It’s perfect served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Crème fraîche would also be a good addition to it if you didn’t have any vanilla ice cream.

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Keep in mind, you do want to soak the pears in the red wine syrup for one to three days, so you’ll need to make this ahead of time, but oh is it worth it. I couldn’t wait to slice into it and I was so excited when I took that first bite. This is definitely something I will keep in my holiday rotation. That and the cranberry sauce with red wine and figs, but that’s a whole other blog post.

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RED WINE PEAR TART

Serves: 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS: 

Pears: 

1 (75cl) bottle fruity red wine
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 slices of fresh lemon
1 cinnamon stick
A few turns of black pepper
8 medium-sized pears (about 2 1/2-pounds) such as Bosc or Anjou
Crust:
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons ice water
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large, non-reactive pot, heat the red wine, water, sugar, honey, lemon, cinnamon, and black pepper.
2. Meanwhile, peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, slice them in half lengthwise, and use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop out the cores.
3. When the red wine mixture is nearly boiling, slide the pears into the poaching liquid. Partially cover the pears allowing the steam to escape. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and poach the pears over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through. To test, poke them with a tip of a paring knife; if it goes in easily, they are done. Do not overcook them.
4. Remove the pears from the pot. Discard the lemon and cinnamon stick. Let the syrup cool until tepid, then pour it over the pears. (If you leave the pears in the syrup while it cools, they may get overcooked.) Cover and refrigerate the pears for 1 to 3 days.
5. To make the dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry blender or a fork, until the pieces are the size of very small peas. (You can also make the dough in a food processor or stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) Add 2 tablespoons ice water and mix the dough until it comes together. If necessary, dribble a bit more water in, just until the dough holds together.
6. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic; refrigerate it for at least an hour. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.)
7. To make the tart, pour off the red wine syrup into a wide, non-reactive saucepan and reduce the liquid over medium heat, until you have about 3/4 cup. Keep an eye on the syrup during the final stages of the reducing; as it gets close, the liquid will foam a bit, which is a sign it’s done – or nearly there. Overcooking it will give it an undesirable caramel taste.
8. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Pour 1/3 cup of the reduced syrup into a 9- to 10-inch glass pie plate, baking dish, or similar sized pan. Arrange the pears in the baking vessel; don’t be reluctant to crowd them in so they overlap – they will bake down as they cook.
9. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough so it is a bit larger than the diameter of the baking dish. Drape the dough over the pears. Tuck the edges of the dough down between the pears and the inside edges of the baking dish.
10. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the dough is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
11. Turning out the tart will require a bit of pluck. Keep in mind that there is hot, sticky liquid in the bottom of the tart that may spill out. So wear oven mitts and be careful when turning it out.
Recipe by David Lebovitz

 

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