French Pear Tart with Graham Cracker Crust
¾ cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons of granulated sugar
3-finger pinch of salt
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cold water
9-10 very firm pears, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoons of water
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground vanilla bean
3-finger pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
½ cup of apricot or strawberry preserves, melted and strained
Instructions for Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and stir together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is crumbly.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time just until the dough comes together. Using your fingers, press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, gently working your way up the sides. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is light brown and firm to the touch. Set aside to cool until ready to fill.
Instructions for Filling:
Cut 5-6 of the pears lengthwise into quarters and cut each quarter lengthwise into 4 slices. Add the pears along with the sugar, butter, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and salt into a medium pot over medium heat. Toss to combine and cover. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until pears are translucent and pliable stirring occasionally. Scoop the pear sliced out onto a plate to cool while leaving the juices in the pot.
Roughly dice the rest of the pears and add to the pot. Cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the pears become very soft. Mash the cooked pears with a potato masher as much as possible and whisk in the cornstarch.
Gently spread the pear mash into the tart shell in an even layer. Starting at outer edge of the tart, arrange previously cooked pear slices, tightly overlapping, in concentric circles. Remember to reserve the thinnest slices so you can easily bend them to fit in the center.
Brush the top of the tart with the strained apricot preserves. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown.
Cool slightly while you marvel at this piece of art, then serve and enjoy!