Jane’s Pear Tart
Sonja met her best friend on the very first day of Kindergarten. She told me that she was drawn to Kaitlyn because she loved her mother’s hair, which was a vibrant shade of mahogany with shiny magenta overtones. Soon there were lunches. Kaitlyn was a wide-eyed shy child who carried a limp stuffed rabbit and a stub of green blanket everywhere, even to the table. She preferred orange foods such as boxed mac ‘n cheese, Cheetos, and oranges. Kaitlyn drank large and multiple glasses of milk but didn’t talk much (not to me at all, really). Eventually we bonded silently over peeled pears. If I peeled and sliced them, she would eat as many as I put on the plate. Of course Kaitlyn was right-on. Slippery, sweet, and so very tender, pears are like lots of things in life. Even when slightly bruised, and not-so-great-to-look-at, they are worthwhile and deeply satisfying.
Makes one 12-inch tart
- 4-5 ripe pears
- scant 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1/4 tsp anise seeds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel, halve, and core the pears. Slice lengthwise into ½ -inch thick slices. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and then extract, if using, mixing until well combined. Spread evenly into the unbaked tart shell.
- Arrange the pear slices on top and sprinkle with the anise seeds, if using. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and slightly firm and the center of the tart is almost set. Let cool.
- For a shiny look, heat about ¼ cup of orange marmalade (or apricot jam) in a small pan stirring often until bubbly. Brush the top of the tart.
- For a sparkly look, sprinkle coarsely ground sugar over the top of the tart.