about bliss

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

twd: french pear tart

mise-en-scene: tart, tea, and poetry in my study/guest room

As much as I love being on vacation and spending time with my family, cooking and baking with my Mom, brother L, and Dad in my Mom's lovely and well-stocked kitchen, there's something comforting about being back in my own kitchen. I know exactly where my kitchen tools are, am attuned to the whirl of my KA, and have already established, in the brief year I've lived in this home, certain muscle memory: a long reach for the spatula and a twirl to the island.

Neither of my TWD creations turned out as I wished when I made them away from home--and I fully accept all responsibility for their less-than-perfection status. Perhaps the fact that I had a cold and would've stayed on the couch watching seasons 4 and 5 of the Gilmore Girls with my Mom the entire visit (after I gave her said DVD's) had a little something to do with my lackluster TWD performance.

Regardless, I was anxious--and nervous--for the first TWD of 2009: the French Pear Tart, chosen this week by the illustrious Dorie Greenspan herself. I wanted the tart to be perfect, and I wanted to devote an afternoon to creating this masterpiece. However, since I indeed *did* spend a large portion of my vacation watching GG, I did *not* spend much time preparing for my three week Poetry class, which started Monday morning. And so, my baking conditions were not ideal, but evolved around my syllabus creation and reading of classic British poetry, hearkening back to my own halcyon undergraduate days...

And so, last night at 9:00 pm I decided to create the components of the tart. Crust: check, though I had to use 1/4 c. extra fine baking sugar instead of powdered sugar because of a supply issue. Almond cream: check, though I substituted Maker's Mark for the rum because of a supply issue. Poached pears: check, though I had to use Meyer lemons because of, you guessed it, a supply issue. The pears, however, were planned long in advance; my dear mother gave me 3 pears from her farmer's market stash to elevate the tart to locavore status. I stashed the crust in the freezer and the other components in the fridge and went to bed, with visions of all the tasks pending dancing in my head.

poaching pears

This afternoon, in between a study of the sonnet, I prebaked the crust, assembled the tart, and baked it to golden lusciousness. What a comely dessert! And now, as another day of poetry and kitchenry comes to a close, a slim sliver of French Pear Tart and a mug of French Earl Grey Tea awaits. Ahh, buttery. Ahhh, pear and almond merging into one. Somehow, I managed something closer to perfection this time, and found a truly impressive and stunningly simple dessert.

the finished tart

Thank you, Dorie, for continuing to inspire with your pastry poesy. And, Happy Anniversary to TWD! Here's to a delicious 2009.

a perfect cookbook, a perfect slice, and a pretty French plate


  1. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Your tart looks wonderful. I loved this recipe. It sounds like you had a relaxing time with your family.

  2. Looks lovely.

    I also heart all the pink!

  3. Lovely looking tart! I know what you mean about cooking in your own kitchen.

  4. Reading and food -- a perfect combination!

  5. Nice job on the tart! I guess I'll be baking it sooner than I thought I would.

  6. Your tart looks great! This has to be one of my favorite recipes so far.

  7. Your tart looks fantastic! Those poached pears look soooo delicious!

  8. Oh, I love this post. I know exactly what you mean about being back to the familiar surroundings (and for me, routine) after the wonderful holiday time with family. My daughter and I have watched every season (except the last) of the GG together. I have to say I like the early ones better; the change in writers and the situations they dreamed up for Rory in the later seasons just didn't ring true to her character, imo.

    Anyway, back to the task at hand: your tart is comely indeed. Love the puff of the almond cream and the fanning of the pears. Those tastes do go together perfectly, don't they? And with a cuppa tea - complete!

  9. It was delish, wasn't it?

    Yours looks terrific!