Pear Tart

serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

9 tablespoons (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 extra large egg

3 large Comice pears, peeled, cored and sliced in 1/4 in slices

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of the pears

2 tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of kosher salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves , divided

1 tablespoon water or Cognac

For the tart dough:

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pulse until combined.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour.   Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface.  Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk.  Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375º.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  On a  lightly floured work surface roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.  Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Fit the dough into the edges of the pan.  Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough.  (let the kids practice their baking skills with the scraps) Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Line the tart with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  Place on a rack to cool completely.

For the Tart:

In a large bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Spread 1/4 of the apricot jam over the cooled crust.  Lay the slices of pears in slightly overlapping concentric circles using the larger slices for the outside and the smaller pieces for the inside.  Dot the top of the crust with the butter.  Bake at 375º for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling.  

In a saucepan, warm the remaining 1/4 cup of jam and water/Cognac.  If using preserves, strain the mixture for any fruit bits.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the mixture over the warm tart.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

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