Hello, it’s been too long! Major things have happened since last we met here. We moved into a new house and all my cake-ing and baking supplies moved into their own little studio. I’ve spent the last month sprucing it up (see here) and now I’m ready to start using it for all it’s worth! Honestly, I feel like one of those toy cars that you pull back in order to wind up, and when you let go it races full speed ahead. I am that kind of ready!
This spiced pear tart with crisp filo crust proved to be a nice way to ease back into things. It’s a quick fix, and with its crinkled edges it’s a rustic beauty. Winter citrus is still available to keep our spirits buoyant, so I couldn’t resist adding a few blood orange slices on top.
First, you’ll need two large pears sliced thin. You see above they are swimming in some water and lemon juice to prevent them from browning. I went a bit overboard with four pears, but I saved half for snacking. A mandoline will give you the most beautiful, uniform slices so I recommend using one. Be careful though! I use this style with a safety holder. Mandolines are #2 on my list of kitchen tools I’m almost afraid to use. (#1 is an old fashioned pressure cooker – I’m a real chicken!)
Lightly butter the sheets of filo. In the picture above I have two sheets overlapping to create a square-ish dough shape.
A few layers later you’ll dust the top sheet of filo with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and cornstarch. The cornstarch will soak up excess moisture and prevent the crust from becoming too soggy.
Load the center of the dough with pears and shake on a little more spice.
Fold the sides of the dough up and onto the pears. You’ll just sort of scrunch it up, which isn’t a very good description but it’s the best I can come up with for now. Scrunch. Crumple? You know what I mean!
Blood oranges provide complex acidic flavor and a tiny hit of bitterness which is nice with the mellow pears. Cara Cara oranges would also be nice if you prefer a sweeter orange.
After the tart bakes and turns golden in the oven, you’re ready to add toppings. I’m not going to lie, ready-made caramel is a good choice here. However, if you’re looking for something lighter, oranges and pomegranate arils are bursting with bright flavor.
I’m partial to the scent of rosemary with winter citrus, so I added a few sprigs that mostly just perfumed the fruit. It makes the tart look pretty but it’s optional.
Bookmark this recipe for summer, because firm white peaches work well in place of the pears!
Spiced Pear Tart
Yields 8 servings
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large pears
10 sheets filo dough, thawed (13×18-inches each)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 blood orange, peeled and sliced in to wheels
3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
1 small branch rosemary (optional)
Fill large bowl half full of water and add lemon juice. Slice pears thinly and submerge in the bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place 1 sheet filo dough on baking sheet and overlap with a second sheet so that you have a large square of filo dough. Brush surface lightly with melted butter using a pastry brush. Continue process with remaining filo sheets but do not brush the final layer with butter.
Mix cornstarch, granulated sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over center of filo dough.
Remove pears from lemon water and pat dry with paper towels. Layer pears in center of prepared filo dough leaving a 2-3-inch border of plain dough around the edges. Sprinkle pears with additional cinnamon and turbinado sugar. Fold edges of filo inward toward pears. Brush edges of pastry with remaining melted butter.
Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 375°F and bake additional 15 minutes, or until filo is golden and crisp around edges.
Remove from oven. Slice orange wheels in half and arrange on top of tart. Scatter pomegranate arils over tart. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if using. Cut into 8 pieces and serve warm.