Project Food Blog Challenge 1: Amaretto Peach and Pear Tart

Peaches n Pears

See that girl on the bus – the one who just missed her stop because she had that faraway look in her eyes – that’s me. I wish I could say I was thinking of important things like global warming or world peace or even that important presentation I have to give at work tomorrow. But more often than not, I’m either dreaming of what I’m going to cook up next or making up stories in my head. Is nutmeg just the thing that batter needs? Is that man bringing those flowers to woo his estranged wife? These are the directions my thoughts take. It’s either that or I have my nose deep in a book. Whatever may be the case, you know I’m missing that stop. (I put it down to exercise.)

Pears - Fall is here

Sometimes, my recipes and stories intermingle in my head and make friends with each other. Like when I made those Audrey Hepburn cupcakes inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This time it was Michael Wallner’s April in Paris that caught my fancy. It’s about a young soldier in the SS, who disguises himself as a Frenchman while off-duty, and falls in love with a beautiful French girl. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it’s sad. Let me tell you something about sad endings – I hate them. In my alternate universe, Rhett and Scarlett live happily in Gone with the Wind, Jenny doesn’t die in Love Story and Jo marries Laurie in Little Women. I know it’s not practical, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for happy endings. In my version of the ending in Wallner’s beautiful book, it is April in Paris, the war is over and the two protagonists are sitting outdoors at their favorite café. The morning light is soft and dappled as it filters through the trees and they sit close together, sharing stolen kisses and a simple tart with their café au lait…

Peaches, Pears and Almond Cream

I was so lost in the story I had missed my stop again and found myself getting off near the market. I’d call it a happy accident but who was I kidding? I wanted that tart. The air had turned crisp and cold – fall was announcing its silent arrival. At the market, I picked up some beautiful pears dreaming of them snuggled up in a warm blanket of almond and cinnamon cream. Wanting to sneak in the last bit of summer into the tart, I bought some of the season’s last peaches. I lugged my bounty home and pulled down Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours. Still caught up in my story, I knew I wanted to make a French Pear Tart and who better to turn to than Dorie?

From here to there

I played around with the recipe as I’m wont to do. I used my trusty old recipe for a flaky, golden crust. (I’ve used this recipe for ages and it has never let me down.) I reduced the sugar and upped the almonds in the cream, adding Amaretto for decadence and cinnamon for warmth. On this plush bed, I pillowed slices of poached pears infused with some more Amaretto, lemon and cinnamon. The peaches added a last bit of summer brightness.

Tart warm from the oven

As soon as I saw the tart come out glistening and golden from the oven, I knew this was going to be my post for the first Project Food Blog* challenge. But what about those sophisticated and complex recipes you’ve been dreaming up, said this little voice at the back of my head. Of all the things you could do, you’re going to submit a post with a simple tart? (The voice had grown incredulous by now.) But my first bite of buttery crust, rich almond cream and luscious, warm fruit effectively silenced that nagging voice. Because sometimes, a simple homemade tart is all you need for a happy ending, don’t you think?

Tart inspired from April in Paris

*PFB voting is now open. If you enjoyed this post, you can vote for it here. I’d really appreciate it.

Amaretto Peach and Pear Tart
Recipe adapted from Baking: From my Home to YoursDorie Greenspan

Crust:
1 partially baked 8-inch crust as per this previous recipe

Almond cream:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups blanched ground almonds
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
2 tablespoons Amaretto (or substitute 2 teaspoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Fruit:
2 medium peaches, firm but ripe
(You can substitute all the ingredients below with 6 canned pear halves, sliced lengthwise)
3 medium pears, firm but ripe
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 lemon
2 tablespoons Amaretto

Garnish (optional):
Confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon sliced almonds

To make the almond cream:
1. Process the butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add the almonds and process until well blended.
2. Add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and egg and process just until the mixture is homogeneous.
3. Blend in the liqueur.
4. Use the cream immediately or refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.

To prepare the fruit:
1. Peel and slice the peaches lengthwise.
2. To poach fresh pears: Bring the water, sugar, lemon juice and Amaretto to a boil in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears. Lower the heat and cook whole, peeled pears in the simmering syrup until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 mins. Cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup. If using immediately, slice pears lengthwise or refrigerate covered up to 1 day.
3. (If you want to use the syrup as a glaze, cook it down further over medium heat till it is reduced by half.)

To assemble:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Fill the prebaked crust with the almond cream.
3. Arrange the pear and peach slices alternately over the almond cream.
4. Place the crust on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 mins or until the almond cream puffs up and browns.
4. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before unmoulding. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar or glazed with poaching syrup and garnished with sliced almonds.

Amaretto Peach and Pear Tart

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65 Responses to Project Food Blog Challenge 1: Amaretto Peach and Pear Tart

  1. This tart looks phenomenal! And really, I love your entry for the PFB challenge, just the kind of post I would have written. :) Looking forward to checking out more of your recipes and beautiful photos.

  2. Chef Dennis says:

    what a beautiful tart! I can only imagine how good your house smelled as it baked! Great combination of flavors, I would love to have tasted it….I have never mixed pears and peaches together in a baked dish, it sounds wonderful!

    Good luck in the Food buzz challenge!

  3. Liren says:

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post and even more beautiful tart!
    (I also wished that Jo married Laurie, sigh.)
    Love your photography and writing style!

    • tiffintales says:

      Thanks a lot!! (Ya, I always thought they were so good together and the Laurie-Amy pairing made no sense to me.)

  4. good luck to you on this challenge. The pictures are quite nice and I do love when words and food intersect.

  5. Susi says:

    Fantastic post and delicious looking tart! Love your pictures. Good luck in the foodbuzz challenge :o)

  6. Your tart is absolutely beautiful and delicious looking! I really enjoyed reading your post, you’re a very good writer! :) I’m looking foward to reading more of your blog.

    • tiffintales says:

      Thank you so much! Just went through your blog – I’m thinking of starting an affair with red velvet too ;)

  7. Gorgeous pictures!
    Good Luck!

  8. Mallika says:

    Hey Heena,

    You write really well ..! I am impressed!
    That tart looks good enough to workout another 30 mins for!! :)

    Keep going girl!
    Mallika

  9. Beautiful, photos, beautiful tart and fabulous post, good luck with the challenge – although it doesn’t look like you need it! I look forward to reading more.

  10. What a beautiful story! The tart looks scrumptious and the pictures are phenomenal, too. Amazing job and best wishes with the challenge!

  11. Joan Nova says:

    A unique approach to the challenge. It was poetic and captured my attention from the start…not to mention a delicious recipe and mouth-watering photos. I’m loving this challenge as it introduces me to bloggers I’ve never met. Good luck!

  12. Beautiful pictures. Good luck in PFB!

  13. Mary says:

    WOW! Your photography is outstanding.. that tart looks and sounds divine! This has been bookmarked!

    Great site; happy I found you!!!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

    • tiffintales says:

      Thank you so much! It’s great to have you here – bookmarked your Chocolate Puddle cookies : )

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  15. There is only one word to define all this: beauty !!!
    Congratulations, and my best wishes for the challenge!

  16. Lisa Orgler says:

    What a lovely blog with beautiful photos! I hope to continue checking in! Good luck!

  17. RavieNomNoms says:

    What a gorgeous tart! Good luck!

  18. Pingback: Project Food Blog Challenge 1: Voting now open | Tiffin Tales

  19. Michele says:

    Lovely post and photos. Good luck!

  20. Jeanne says:

    This tart looks like an extremely happy ending to me! Great job on this challenge!

  21. You got my vote!

    Check out our PFB post.

    Cheers and Aloha.

  22. Liv Wan says:

    Hello Tiffin,
    You got my vote!! :D I love your entry very much and the photos looks fantastic. Good luck. All the best.

  23. Yummy! That just looks so tasty, I want to reach out and eat it from the screen (or at least have smell-evision!)

    • tiffintales says:

      Thanks Alissa! Someone should really look into inventing something for this ‘reaching through the screen’ desire that invades all of us from time to time : )

  24. Gorgeous photos! And the tart looks to die for. Good luck!

  25. What a beautifully written post! And gorgeous photos! The peach and pear tart looks absolutely scrumptious!

    I also love Gone with the Wind and Little Women (never did see Love Story, but one day I’ll have to!) I think they made a sequel to Gone with the Wind, and if I’m remembering correctly, Rhett was married to someone else. I only watched about a minute of it, though, so I could be wrong! And as for Little Women, I loved Laurie and Jo together!

    If you like, you can check out mine here.
    Thanks!

  26. riceandwheat says:

    What lovely photos and writing! I love finding good storytellers and am so happy PFB led me here. Can’t wait to read your other posts and good luck in the competition!

  27. Kimmy says:

    Anyone who loved that warmth of amaretto as much as I do (especially in baking) gets a vote! Cheers! Great to have such great competition.

  28. Meseidy says:

    Beautiful tart and beautiful post. I found you through PFB and I am a fellow competitor. Just want you to know you got my vote and a new follower. I look forward to more of your posts.

  29. That tart looks delectable. By the way, I missed my bus stop earlier today while zoning out. You’re not the only one. Just voted for you, best of luck in PFB!

    Lick My Spoon

    • tiffintales says:

      Thanks!! Glad to know I’m not alone in the zoning out world. I love the first pic in your PFB post : )

  30. nesrine says:

    great post, voted for you.:)
    if you wanna check my entry here it is..
    cheers.

  31. Kristina says:

    Your story is lovely and so is your recipe. You won my vote, and I look forward to reading more. :)

  32. Totally inspired to make this recipe by your exquisite photos. Good luck with PFB.

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  35. Anna says:

    Hey!

    So I’m going to make this (for a very belated father’s day…) but had a couple questions:
    Firstly, I want to swap mango for the pear, do you think I can just throw soft sliced (unpoached) mango in instead?
    Secondly, for a glaze can I just take the ingredients for poaching the pears (4 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons Amaretto) and cook down until half he liquid is gone?

    Thank you!

    Anna

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