Red Bartlett Pear Tart

Adapted by
Sunday Dinner (Chronicle Books 1998)
Yield: Serves: 6 to 8
Pears are as much a part of autumn as pumpkins and scarlet foliage. This lovely tart is elegant in its simplicity, and pretty, too. A perfect ending to a relaxed Sunday meal, one of the nicest things about this tart is that it can be made a few hours before serving.


Pastry Dough
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, chilled
5 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Pastry Dough
4 to 5 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam or currant jelly


1. To make the pastry dough: Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the chilled butter and shortening into pieces and add them to the food processor.

2. Pulse the food processor 4 to 5 times to break up the fat. With the the machine running, add 5 tablespoons of the ice water. Turn the food processor off and then pulse it 5 or 6 times. The dough should begin to mass on the blade. If not, add another tablespoon of water, or more as needed. When the dough holds together in a cohesive mass, it is done; do not overmix.

3. Turn the dough out onto the countertop. Flatten it with the palm of your hand, dust it lightly with flour, and wrap the dough in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill for 1 or 2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350F.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 10-by-14 inches. Press the dough into an 8-by-11-inch tart pan. Trim the excess dough and crimp the edges.

6. Arrange the pears in 3 rows over the dough to fill the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg and mix well. Sift evenly over the pears. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling gently. Set on a wire rack to cool slightly.

8. In a small saucepan, heat the jam over medium-low heat until liquefied.

9. Loosen the edges of the tart and slide it onto a serving platter. Spoon the jam over the tart and let cool before serving.