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Pear and Cranberry Rustic Tart

Pear and Cranberry Rustic Tart

Rustic tart with Bosc or Bartlett pears, fresh cranberries, ginger, and a touch of almond.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Have you seen the pears at the market lately? Gorgeous!

This is a rustic tart, using Bosc or Bartlett pears (great cooking pears) that have been pre-baked with ginger, sugar, and butter, giving them a wonderful caramelized flavor in the tart.

Their buttery sweetness offsets the crisp tartness of the whole cranberries.

I got the idea from a pear crostata recipe in The Boston Globe. That recipe, which I made and is fabulous, uses pear halves and layers the pears and cranberries on top of frangipane.

I did find the Globe’s recipe a bit too fussy, along with taking the better part of a day to make. So, this is my simpler version, still the same wonderful mix of flavors, but with a little less effort.

A note on the crust. In my opinion, a pie is just an excuse to eat a fantastic homemade butter crust. These days you can buy frozen flat crusts, but if you haven’t made a homemade crust, I strongly encourage you to try it.

You can make dough rounds ahead of time and freeze them, making it convenient to roll-out whenever you want to make a pie.

Pear and Cranberry Rustic Tart Recipe

You can either cut up the pears into cubes, or halve them and core them, and use pear halves. The halves will make a prettier presentation, but the cubes will be easier to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (about 8) Bosc or Bartlett pears (ripe but still quite firm, NOT soft), peeled, cored, cubed into 1-inch pieces (or halved)
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (do not sub brown sugar, it will change the taste too much)
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 pie crust recipe
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Method

1 Make the pie dough from one recipe of a butter crust, or buy the kind of frozen pie crust that is folded in a box and lays out flat.

2 Roast the pears: Heat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Toss together in the pan the cubed pears (or pear halves if using), ginger, and sugar, and spread out evenly in the pan. Dot the top with butter.

Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork, and starting to get brown and caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.

3 Combine roasted pears with cranberries and almond extract: Use a slotted spoon to lift the pears out of the roasting pan, and place in a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and almond extract.

4 Roll-out pie dough and fill with pear cranberry filling: Heat oven to 350°F. Roll-out the pie dough to a 13-inch diameter. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Mound the pear and cranberry filling in the middle of the dough round, leaving a 2 to 3 inch border.

Fold up the edges over the fruit, pleating the crust around the edges, leaving most of the fruit exposed in the center.

5 Chill for half an hour before baking.

6 Bake: Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.

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Rustic Pear-Cranberry Tart

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears. Sauté until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar toss 1 minute. Add cranberries, juice concentrate, and jelly. Sauté until pears are tender and juices are thick, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Scrape pear mixture onto large plate and place in freezer 5 minutes to cool quickly.

Step 2

Unroll dough onto prepared sheet. Cut 1 1/2-inch-wide strip off 1 short end, forming rough 9-inch square. Pull dough strip to twice its length and cut crosswise in half.

Step 3

Scrape pear mixture into center of dough square. Spread mixture to cover, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Fold up border over edge of filling. Place 2 dough strips diagonally over filling, spacing strips 2 to 3 inches apart press ends to border to adhere. Sprinkle border and strips with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Step 4

Bake tart until dough is golden and cooked through, 22 to 23 minutes. Cool to lukewarm on baking sheet.


Rustic Pear and Cranberry Tart Recipe

For crisp fall days, you can’t go wrong with this Rustic Pear and Cranberry Tart Recipe. Pear and cranberry recipes are so delicious because of how the sweetness of fresh pears is complemented by the tartness of fresh cranberries.


Rustic Pear and Cranberry Tart Recipe

4 pounds (about 8) Bosc or Bartlett pears (ripe but firm), peeled, cored, cubed into 1-inch pieces
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
1 refrigerated boxed pie crust
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Toss together in the pan the cubed pears, ginger, and sugar, and spread out evenly in the pan. Dot the top with butter. Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork, and starting to get brown and caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool. Use a slotted spoon to lift the pears out of the roasting pan, and place in a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and almond extract. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll-out the pie dough to a 13-inch diameter. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Mound the pear and cranberry filling in the middle of the dough round, leaving a 2 to 3 inch border. Fold up the edges over the fruit, pleating the crust around the edges, leaving most of the fruit exposed in the center. Chill for half an hour before baking. Bake for 1 hour, or until the crust is nicely browned. Cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 3 firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring butter, sugar, salt, and2 tablespoons water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until mixture has a nutty aroma and turns golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, then flour and oats, until no dry flour remains and a dough forms.

Transfer to a fluted 9-inch tart pan. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes, then press evenly into bottom and up sides of pan. Line with parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry on bottom and darkened slightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and continue baking until golden, about 5 minutes more. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add butter and flour whisk to combine. In another bowl, toss cranberries with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Scatter half of cranberries in bottom of crust. Top with pears, arranging them in a single overlapping layer. Scatter remaining cranberries over pears transfer pan to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Slowly pour egg mixture evenly over fruits.

Bake until pears are easily pierced with the tip of a knife and filling is puffed and set, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer tart in pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving.


Pear & Cranberry Frangipane Tart

For the frangipane:
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. brandy
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1½ tsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt

For the topping:
1½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup, plus 2 tsp. water, divided
4-5 large Bartlett pears, about 3 lbs.
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp. water

For the crust:

Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Scatter the cold butter cubes over the flour and pulse seven to 10 times, until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Turn the mixture out into a large bowl. Sprinkle three tablespoons of ice water over mixture. Using a large fork, gently work the water into the flour mixture until it clings together and forms a dough. Add additional tablespoons of water one at a time as needed, being careful not to overwork. The dough should be cool and moist, but not sticky. Gently form the dough into a ball. Pat it out into a five-inch disk. Sprinkle the disk with flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

For the frangipane:

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream them on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. On low speed, mix in the egg yolk, brandy, almond extract, flour, and salt. Add the almonds and stir to combine.

For the topping:

Rinse the cranberries and remove any stems. Combine a quarter cup of the sugar and a half cup of the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the cranberries. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the cranberries are softened but still whole, about three minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries to a plate in a single layer. Set aside to cool. Discard the poaching liquid.

Preheat oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to a circle 13 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Tuck the excess dough in around the sides. Gently press dough into rimmed sides of tart pan, forming a consistent edge. Spread the frangipane over the bottom of tart pan, using an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing the pears.

Peel the pears and slice in half from stem end down. Use a melon baller to remove the core. Slice the pears into quarter-inch slices. Put them in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine the remaining half cup of sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pear slices and toss gently to combine, being careful not to break the slices.

Remove the chilled tart shell from refrigerator. Arrange the pear slices, slightly overlapping, on top of frangipane around perimeter of pan. Sprinkle with half of the cranberries. Repeat with an inside row of pear slices. Tuck smaller pieces of pear in as needed to fill the tart shell. You may not need all of the pear slices the tart should be full but not overloaded with fruit. Pour the remaining sugar mixture from the pears over the top of the tart. Dot with the butter cubes.

Bake the tart for 45 to 55 minutes, until juices bubble around the edges and in the center of the tart and the crust is golden brown. To prevent the cranberries from browning too quickly, cover the top of the tart loosely with a piece of aluminum foil during the last half of baking.

When the tart has almost finished baking, combine the apricot preserves and the remaining two teaspoons of water in a small saucepan. Cook over gentle heat until the preserves are warm and have loosened up. Strain the preserves into a small bowl to remove any large pieces of fruit. Using a pastry brush, gently glaze top of the warm tart with the warm preserves.


PEAR AND CRANBERRY RUSTIC TART RECIPE

* 4 pounds (about 8) Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, cubed into 1-inch pieces (or halved)
* 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar (do not sub brown sugar, it will change the taste too much)
* 1/4 cup (half a stick) pareve margarine, cut into small cubes
* 1 pie crust
* 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
* 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Toss together in the pan the cubed pears (or pear halves if using), ginger, and sugar, and spread out evenly in the pan. Dot the top with margarine. Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork, and starting to get brown and caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.

Use a slotted spoon to lift the pears out of the roasting pan, and place in a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and almond extract.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mound the pear and cranberry filling in the middle of the pie crust, leaving a 2 to 3 inch border. Fold up the edges over the fruit, pleating the crust around the edges, leaving most of the fruit exposed in the center. Chill for half an hour before baking.


Recipe: Roasted Pear and Cranberry Crostata

We've offered this open-faced rustic tart for years at Flour, and I started making it long before that. It's my go-to holiday dessert to take to dinner parties and such, and it never fails to stop conversation as everyone takes a first bite and exhales with a collective "mmmmmm." It's a sheet of flaky pâte brisée rolled out into a large circle, a generous layer of frangipane (almond cream) spread in the middle, and pears (roasted with butter, sugar, and fresh ginger) and fresh cranberries placed on top. It's finished with an egg wash and lots of sanding sugar, and when it emerges from the oven, it is guaranteed to impress everyone with both its appearance and its taste.

Makes one 9-inch crostata (serves 8 to 10)

• 9 Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
• 1-inch knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
• Pâte Brisée II (see accompanying recipe)
• frangipane (recipe follows)
• 1 cup (100 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 2 tablespoons sanding sugar, pearl sugar, or granulated sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a nine-by-13-inch baking pan, toss together the pears, ginger, granulated sugar, and butter. Roast, stirring occasionally, for one to one and a half hours, or until the pears are soft when pierced with a knife tip and golden. Let cool completely. (The pears can be roasted up to five days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 to 14 inches in diameter and a quarter inch thick. Place the dough circle on the prepared baking sheet.

Using the back of a spoon or a small rubber spatula, spread the frangipane in the middle of the dough round in a circle about eight to nine inches in diameter, leaving a three-inch border uncovered.

Place about eight pear halves, cut side down, in a circle in a single layer on top of the frangipane, lining them up with the edge of the frangipane and with the stem ends pointing toward the middle. Place one or two pear halves in the center to cover the frangipane circle completely. Sprinkle three quarters of a cup (75 grams) of the cranberries evenly on top of the pears. Top the first layer of pears with a second layer of pears, using about seven halves and reserving one pear half, arranging them in a smaller concentric circle. Sprinkle the remaining quarter cup (25 grams) cranberries evenly on top of the second layer of pears.

Place the reserved pear half on a cutting board. Using a paring knife, and starting at the squat bottom end, cut four or five lengthwise slices, stopping just short of the stem end. Fan the slices, and place the pear half in the center of the second layer of pear halves. Starting at one side of the crostata, fold the three-inch border of dough up and over the fruit, forming six to eight loose pleats around the perimeter and pressing the pleats firmly together onto the fruit. The center of the crostata will remained exposed in a three- to four-inch circle, showing off the fanned pear. Refrigerate the assembled crostata for at least one hour before baking. (At this point, the crostata can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to one day before baking.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 F.

Brush the pleated pastry with the beaten egg, then sprinkle evenly with the sanding sugar. Bake for about one hour and 20 minutes, or until the pleats are golden brown. Make sure all of the folds are evenly browned, so there are no chewy underbaked bits of dough in the finished crostata. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack for at least two hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The crostata can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

• 1/3 cup (50 grams) blanched whole almonds or 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
• pinch of kosher salt

If using whole almonds, grind them in a food processor as finely as possible without turning them into a paste. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer or wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for one to two minutes, or until light. Add the ground almonds or almond flour and beat on medium speed for one minute, or until thoroughly incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

On low speed, beat in the egg. Add the all-purpose flour, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined. You should have about one cup. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, then let sit for a few hours at room temperature before using. Or, freeze in an airtight container for up to three weeks, then thaw it in the refrigerator before using.

To read Joanne's article about how even novice bakers can produce satisfying desserts, click here.


Directions

For the tart:

Fit in bottom and up side of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim around edge.

Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until beginning to brown.

With back of wooden spoon, gently press out any bubbles.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix 1/2 cup Stevia In The Raw, cornstarch and nutmeg.

Add pears and cranberries toss to coat.

Spoon into partially baked crust.

For the streusel:

Spoon into partially baked crust.

In small bowl, mix flour, 2 tablespoons Stevia In The Raw and butter with pastry blender or fork until crumbly.

Sprinkle over pears. Sprinkle top with chopped almonds.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until pears are tender and crust is golden brown.


Puff Pastry Pear Tart

When baked, the puff pastry border creates a picture frame.

This puff pastry pear tart will astound you – it’s so easy to make and such an elegant dessert for a special dinner. This simple technique for creating a picture-frame tart with Grand Central frozen puff pastry can be used with any number of toppings, but pears are a wonderful choice for fall or winter, with or without the optional almond filling. Use any type of pear except Asian, as long as they are firm but ripe. If you choose a smooth skinned pear there is no need to peel the fruit. Russet-skinned varieties like Bosc should be peeled.

Watch this video for step-by-step instructions to create the Puff Pastry base.

Makes one 12-by-16-inch tart, 8-10 servings.

1 package Grand Central U-Bake Classic Puff Pastry
3-4 firm-ripe pears (Anjou is a good variety)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, or allspice
Almond filling (optional, see below)

Prepare puff pastry
Defrost puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for about 1 ½ hours. Unroll sheet, cut a 12-by-16 inch rectangle and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate. Return remaining pastry to freezer for future use.

Prepare filling
Halve and core pears. Place flat side on cutting board and use a chef’s knife to cut slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Combine sugars and spices and set aside (if using almond filling, omit spices).

Create border
Use a paring knife to trace a smaller rectangle on the puff pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Be careful not to cut all the way through the dough. The 1-inch border will puff up and be the edge of the tart. Use a fork to dock, or poke small holes in, the center rectangle.

Shingle the pears, alternating directions and making sure to stay inside border. This smaller 12-by-8-inch tart serves about 6. For a larger tart, you will have several rows of shingled pears.

Shingle fruit and top with sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spread optional almond filling (see recipe below) on pastry inside the border.
Shingle pears, laying slices as close together as possible. Alternate directions of the slices, keeping the wide end at the outside of the tart without covering the border. Sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit and chill for 20 minutes or overnight (if chilling overnight, pears will release some of their juices. You can use a pastry brush to brush juices on the pastry border for a pretty, golden effect.).

Bake
Bake tart in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and pears are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Optional almond (frangipane) filling: In a food processor or electric mixer, combine 1/3 cup almond paste (not marzipan) with 1 tablespoon sugar. Add 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and beat or process until light and smooth. Spread evenly on prepared pastry dough. Top with pears as directed.


Ingredients

1 Serving 6 Servings 12 Servings
PAN SIZE Individual pie pan, tart pan, or dessert dish 8&Prime or 9&Prime tart pan, pie pan, or square pan 2 &ndash 8&Prime or 9&Prime tart pan, pie pan, or square pan
CRUST
Shortbread cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs, finely ground 1 1/2 Tbsp 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp 3/4 cup
THICK & EASY ® Bread & Dessert Mix
Item: 48862
2 tsp 1/4 cup 1/2 cup
Sugar 1/8 tsp 1 tsp 2 tsp
Almond extract 1-2 drops 1/2 tsp 1 tsp
Cold water 2 Tbsp 3/4 cup 1 1/3 cups
FILLING
Jellied cranberry 2 Tbsp 3/4 cup 1 1/2 cups
Water 3/4 tsp 1 1/2 Tbsp 3 Tbsp
Brown sugar 1/2 tsp 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tsp 2 Tbsp 1/4 cup
Cornstarch 1/2 tsp 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp
Butter 1/4 tsp 1 tsp 2 tsp
Vanilla extract 1-2 drops 1/4 tsp 1/4 tsp
Pears, pureed and thickened* 2 1/2 Tbsp 1 cup 2 cups

*Thick & Easy ® Frozen Pureed Shaped Pears can be used in place of manually thickened pears, if desired. Use 1 frozen pear portion for every 2 servings prepared. Cut pear portion into slices while still frozen and arrange on top of tart in a decorative pattern.

**Note: May be prepared using a variety of sizes and shapes: 4&Prime individual tart pans, mini muffin or pie pans, 8&Prime square pan for cranberry bars or dessert squares (yields 6 portions per pan) and dessert dishes (layer crust and fillings in dessert dish and garnish). Make sure to generously coat pans with cooking spray before adding crust.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, chilled
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed
  • 4 apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ⅔ cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup white sugar, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped walnuts, or more to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Place 2 cups flour in a bowl. Cut butter and cream cheese into flour using a knife or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gently mix water into flour mixture until dough forms into a ball.

Mix apples and cranberries with brown sugar, white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl until coated.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Roll dough onto a lightly floured work surface, forming about an 11-inch circle. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet. Arrange apple-cranberry mixture decoratively on the dough, leaving a 2-inch rim of exposed dough. Sprinkle walnuts over apple-cranberry mixture. Fold exposed crust up and over the edge of the fruit.

Brush egg over the crust and around the edge of the tart sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven until crust is browned and filling is tender, 30 to 35 minutes.