The autumn farmer's market is packed with a huge selection of gorgeous pears. Some, like ripe Bartletts, are perfect for eating out of hand. Others, like the firm Bosc pears, are ideal for cooking, poaching, and baking.
We sometimes think of fruit pies as elaborate and complicated, but a pear tart is surprisingly easy to make. The homemade pastry comes together quickly in a food processor—and store-bought is always an option when in a rush—and the fruit only needs a bit of sugar and lemon for flavor.
Adding caramel sauce elevates the simple tart into something special, especially when you add a bit of tahini. The sesame paste gives the sweet caramel a nutty flavor that really elevates the entire dessert. It's an ideal sweet treat with an afternoon cup of tea on a chilly fall day.
- For the Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter (chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- For the Sauce:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sesame paste
- Pinch of sea salt
- For the Filling:
- 3 firm pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Zest of one lemon
- Pinch of salt
Make the pastry dough. Add the flour, butter, sugar, and salt to a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running, pour the ice water through the feed tube and continue running until the mixture forms a dough ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, pat into a circle, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
While the dough is chilling, make the tahini salted caramel sauce. Add the granulated sugar and water to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place on low heat, allowing the sugar to melt.
Continue cooking until the sugar is a very light golden brown. Add the heavy cream. Note that the mixture may bubble up. Stir to combine and then add the sesame paste and sea salt.
Continue stirring and cooking on low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into a 10-inch circle and drape over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Run the rolling pin over the edges of the pan to remove any excess dough.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears. Toss them with the sugar, lemon zest, cardamom, and salt.
Fan the pear slices across the bottom of the dough, overlapping wherever you see a gap.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden brown and the pears are tender.
Drizzle the tart with the tahini salted caramel and serve extra sauce on the side when plating. You can also serve this with vanilla ice cream on top.