a pressed-crust pear and almond tart

August 15, 2016
pear tart

It’s been so hot this summer. And so dry. The driest summer in Eastern Ontario since 1888. It reminds me of my years in Australia – especially the drought years when the heat seeped up from the floor boards and down from the attic, filling every crack, every corner of the house, while outside the yard baked hard and dry under the intense Australian sun.

 

We were young then, in those Australian years. And we lived in a series of odd, old flats and beaten-up, weatherboard houses – all of them uninsulated and without air conditioning. During the heat waves, time stood still as we waited for the cool changes to come through and for life to resume again. We lived on takeaway fish and chips, cold cereal, and Vegemite sandwiches. At night we listened to cicadas and the whirr of fans moving the hot air from one place to the next.  We laid cold, wet towels on the children’s beds to keep them cool. In the mornings, as we left the house, the sunshine was so intense it was like stepping into the blast of heat from opening the oven door and we’d crisscross the street to maximize our time in the shade.

For years we yoyo-ed back and forth between Canada and Australia – our lives, our hearts – divided between the two places. Those children, just babies in Australia, are both beautiful women in their twenties now. And somehow, Kingston grew to be our permanent home. It’s only now, during this hot, dry, so Australian-like summer, that I can’t help remembering what used to be.

Along my walking route, with its parched brown grass and dying trees, I keep expecting to see kangaroos. Instead there are dozens of rabbits trying to find something tender and green to eat. Yesterday the drought which started in May, finally broke with a sweet, slow, steady day-long rain. All day I kept checking to see if the grass had noticed.

Today, in celebration of yesterday’s rain and the fresh breeze that blew in with it, I decided to spend some time in the kitchen and produced this pear and almond tart.pressed crust pear tart

 

I love the simplicity and elegance of this. Pressed crusts are so easy and accommodating and such a great compromise between pastry and cake. Delicate in flavour – this tart really needs no adornment – and perhaps that’s best in order to allow the gentle pear and almond their deservedly starring roles. That said, I served it with dollops of very lightly sweetened whipped cream.

I’m still playing with this recipe – next time I would brown the almonds lightly in a little butter first and I might try substituting out some of the flour with ground almonds. My eldest daughter thought a white chocolate sauce wouldn’t go amiss. I imagined it with a swirl of salted caramel sauce… and that’s exactly what I’ll do next time, while pears are still in season. Baked pear and almond tart with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream – a perfect flavour combination – how could you possibly go wrong?

Pressed Crust Pear and Almond Tart

  • 1/2 cup butter (or margarine for dairy-free version)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • I cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, browned in a little butter over low heat for a few minutes
  • 2 tbsp raw cane, Demerara, turbinado, or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • whipped cream and salted caramel sauce to serve
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a flan dish or tart pan. Mine, about 10 inches in diameter (??), has a removable rim which makes life very easy.
  2. Cream the butter and white sugar. Add the egg and beat to incorporate.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture. Add an extra tablespoon or two of flour as necessary to form a very soft dough.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Top with sliced pears. Add browned almonds (note I only thought of browning the almonds after I made this – but it would bring out their flavour).unbaked pear tart
  5. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp raw sugar.
  6. Bake for about 35-4o minutes. Remove when the crust is brown and set. Let cool.baked pear tart
  7. In a small Pyrex bowl or measuring cup, warm the apricot jam and lemon juice together until jam is melted. Brush over tart.
  8. Serve with salted caramel sauce and whipped cream.

finished pear and almond tart

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19 Comments

  • Reply apuginthekitchen August 15, 2016 at 12:34 am

    It is and has been terribly hot here with sporadic rain but not much. Loved reading about your life in Australia and live this tart. I am looking forward to the Fall,cooler weather and apples snd pears. I agree about the caramel sauce it sounds perfect with the tart.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske August 15, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Thanks Suzanne! I love summer in Ontario but I love autumn even more. And yes, I think this year we are all looking forward to cooler weather and all it brings. Hope it is cooling off in NYC. ♡

  • Reply jen August 15, 2016 at 12:36 am

    Sounds amazing!! And I bet that eldest daughter knows about these things!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske August 15, 2016 at 12:38 am

      Oh yes, she does! You’re right. I love that my daughters live in Kingston. Isn’t have two daughters the very best thing that ever happened?! ♡

  • Reply chef mimi August 15, 2016 at 7:39 am

    A beautiful post and pie. And Yes two daughters is the best, I think! One was just visiting and it was so nice to be together, but also to watch the interact as adults, one of whom is a Mom herself to a little girl.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske September 2, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Mimi – I just found this comment – thank you! I love the bloodline of women – right down to the granddaughter. Maybe one day I’ll be so lucky too. Was scrolling through the reader on my phone yesterday and need to spend some time on your blog SOON! Some stunning and so enticing photographs.

      • Reply chef mimi September 2, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        I just re-read my post and it is full of typos. I really need to proofread… But I do have two daughters – 30 and almost 33, the older one has a girl almost 2. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a little boy!!! Fortunately the grand baby only lives about 1 1/2 hours away. My younger daughter was visiting from NYC and I was trying to say that it’s so interesting to watch the two of them interact as adults. In some ways they’re still little girls! Thank you for your comment about the photos – I’m trying to get better at photography, just in general!

        • Reply Lindy Mechefske September 6, 2016 at 11:47 am

          Mimi -it’s a rule of thumb that typos only show up after publishing and also, that no one else really notices! It’s true. I once found a typo in the newsletter that came from my children’s school. It said xxxx Public School – only the ‘L” was missing from public! I called the office to let them know and they told me that they’d be using that template for umpteen years. No one had ever noticed it was a PUBIC school. I’m still laughing about that one. Makes our mistakes look pretty tame huh?!

          • chef mimi September 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

            Oh that’s funny. Love your rule of thumb, too! The problem is that I spot every typo – on signs, in books, you name it. So it really makes me mad when I create my own!!!

  • Reply Johanne Lamarche August 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

    As the news shares the horror of deluges of rain in Louisiana, isn’t mother nature a force to contend with? While southern Ontario has been in a drought, Northern Ontario has had more than its fair share of rain. Here in PA, I wish we could get more rain as well and move on from the oppressive heat and humidity. Longing for fall here too and your tart is calling to me! Just lovely.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske August 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Hi Johanne – so awful about Louisiana – just read about it now. Photos remind me of Australia where it seems, it is alternately either in drought or deluged with flooding rains.
      Hope it cools off for you soon. Autumn will surely be upon us before long. And then that unspeakable thing -shhh – that follows….

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso August 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Finally you’re back on my Reader. I hope it will last…

    The tart looks fabulous, and the suggestion to serve it with salted caramel sauce makes me drool… 🙂

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske September 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Hurray Ronit! and thank you so much for letting me know. Will get caught up again soon on what you’re up to in the kitchen. It’s September. Time to get back into a routine. Hurray!!

  • Reply Jane Heath August 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Looks tasty…not a drought here, but way too hot and sticky for me. Two granddaughters are pretty nice, also 😉

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske September 1, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Oh Jane – those beautiful granddaughters of yours – so lovely!! xo

  • Reply Mary Frances August 19, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    So gorgeous and absolutely adore the flavor combo! A guilty pleasure breakfast treat!

  • Reply patrick @alldayieat.com October 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    yummy!!!!!

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