Thursday, January 6, 2011

Creamy Pear or Apple Tart

This is a lovely combination of flavors and textures.  The original recipe comes from a Junior League of Denver cookbook I received for my wedding.  I have made it several times over the years, and am reminded why it's on the favorite list each time.  The nutmeg in the crust is unusual and delicious.  This time, I used freshly grated nutmeg and it added an extra pop to it.  The original recipe calls for apples, which is what I usually use, but the pears were calling my name at Costco and I succumbed...  The results were very tasty, and I actually think I like it better with pears.  I made this a few days ago for a party, and munched on some leftovers of it today and it was still great - the crust was not soggy, and the flavors had improved with time.  This was technically listed as a breakfast tart in the original cookbook, but it serves well as a dessert too.

If you've never invested in a tart pan, I highly recommend that you bite the bullet and spend the 15 or so bucks.  It is so much easier to make impressive looking desserts in a tart pan than any other pan - just press the crust into the fluted edging, and pop the outer rim off once it's ready to serve.  Voila!  Fancy dessert!  I now have three, two sizes of round pans and this rectangular pan.  I like 'em all.

Creamy Pear or Apple Tart


1 ¼ cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ cup butter, chilled
1 egg
1 T. milk


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
2 egg yolks (or one egg if you're lazy like me - I don't notice a difference)
½ t. vanilla


2 large McIntosh, Fuji or Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced OR 2 large pears, same treatment
1/3 cup sugar
½ t. cornstarch
½ t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10 inch tart pan or pie pan. In large bowl, combine the dry crust ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly. In small bowl, beat egg and milk and add to flour mixture. Blend until dough forms a ball and pat dough into prepared pan.

Blend cream cheese and ¼ cup sugar, then add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread evenly over crust. Layer apples over cream cheese mixture in circular pattern, slightly overlapping slices. In small bowl, combine remaining topping ingredients and sprinkle over the apples.

Bake 30 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

This is best if served at room temperature or chilled.  It holds up well if made in advance, even up to two days in advance, and kept in the refrigerator.

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