September 5, 2012 in Food

Elegant pear-almond tarts perfect for company


This recipe for pear tarts combines pears and almond paste for an elegant dessert.

Find cans or tubes of almond paste and frozen puff pastry in most grocery stores.

Free-form Pear Tarts with Almond and Cinnamon

From Fine Cooking’s “Pies and Crisps.” Recipe by Gale Gand. In this recipe, almond paste provides a subtle, perfumy almond flavor that marries perfectly with the sweetness of the pears. You’ll find cans or tubes of almond paste in most grocery stores.

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (9 3/4-inch square), thawed overnight in the refrigerator

Flour for dusting

2 tablespoons almond paste (from a can or tube), divided

4 teaspoons sour cream

2 small firm-ripe pears (preferably Bartlett), peeled, cored and cut into 12 wedges each

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Unroll or unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Pinch any creases together and then smooth them out with your fingertips. Cut the pastry sheet into four equal squares and transfer them to the lined baking sheet.

Roll 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond paste into a small ball, flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand, and put it in the center of one puff pastry square. Drop 1 teaspoon of sour cream on top. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar over the sour cream. Arrange four pear wedges in the center of the puff pastry, two leaning away from the center one way and two leaning the other way. Sprinkle with another 1/2 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining three puff pastry squares and filling ingredients – you won’t need all of the sliced pears.

Fold the corners of the puff pastry over the pears until the tips are just touching but not overlapping and press the dough against the pears. (The tarts won’t look pretty now, but they’ll be beautiful once they bake and puff up.) Bake until puffed and golden brown on the edges, 22 to 27 minutes. Let cool. Any juices that leak onto the baking sheet will harden to a candy-like consistency, so break off and discard these bits before serving.

Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Yield: 4 tarts

Approximate nutrition per serving: 380 calories, 19 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 5 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 300 milligrams sodium.

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