The ‘I-don’t-like-pears’ honeyed pear tarts.

Nor’easter Athena, or Winter Storm Athena, hit New York, New Jersey & Connecticut this past week. She was supposed to be rain/slushy mix with high winds for the city & surrounding areas with light snow further inland leading to deeper snow at the far interior; she ended up being around 6 inches of snow for the city. Seriously. First a hurricane… or should I say, “superstorm;” the likes of which we’ve never seen before. And then a goddamn snowstorm. I don’t know. I give up.

Now you tell me there’s nothing crazy going on with climate change.

Ugh. I hate snow. This photo was taken at around 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, before an additional 4+ inches was loaded on. The worst part, though, is that there are families- incuding people I know- living without power & heat. Some of them even in damaged or compromised homes or apartments, tarps on the roof or broken doors & windows. And it snowed. On top of everything else! Did I mention I hate snow?

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Speaking of things I hate, pears & I don’t mix. I might have told you before… I just don’t like pears. I’ve tried. I really tried to like them. They’re so cute!

And they look so similar to apples, and have such a similar skin & flesh texture, that I try really hard to enjoy them. But ultimately I don’t, and I just have to accept that. I’ll never be a fan of ginger pear white tea, I’ll never like pear tarts and I’ll never, ever like eating one straight. However, I’m a sucker for fresh produce… pears and apples look so pretty together!

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But you have to know your audience. So when you’re making a dinner for people who do like pears, and you had some pears sitting around that you had bought for a great price, despite not liking them… then you come up with a dessert featuring those pears. Preferably a quick & simple dessert that doesn’t require a lot of work. Something rustic-looking, something rough around the edges, and something that I can throw together in five minutes.

So this is what I came up with. Sugared & honeyed pear tarts.

I thought of those quick & easy stone fruit galettes I made over the summer, and decided if it worked for peaches & plums, it’d work for pears too. And of course, despite it being extremely easy, and lacking an in-depth explanation… I thought I’d share it with you.

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It’s simple, really. Practically makes itself. The longest part is peeling the pears.

Get some frozen puff pastry* and take it out to thaw. Get your pears, wash ‘em and peel ‘em. Then cut them in half, and cut out the bottom core and scrape out the inside seed/core part of each. A melon baller can make this easy, but a small teaspoon works too. Remember- each pear makes 2 tarts. It’s cool to leave the stems on like I did, but you can also remove them if you want. Set the pears aside. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a sheet of parchment paper. Then take your thawed puff pastry and cut it into rectangles, sizing them so that the pear halves fit just right. Brush each piece with a little honey, then place your pears on top. Brush the pears with honey, and bake at 375° degrees F until the pastry is “puffed” around the pears and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

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Remove the tarts from the oven, then let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove from the sheet and plate them. Drizzle with honey, sift some powdered sugar on top, and serve with whipped cream or ice cream while still warm.

Bam. Easy fall dessert.

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Alternately, you can hollow the insides of the pears out even more and put some goat cheese or mascarpone cheese in the middle before placing them on the pastry, to make a kind of filling. Maybe add some sliced almonds, too. You can also drizzle it with melted chocolate or homemade caramel instead of honey. I like the sugar sprinkled over the top… it’s like snow.

You can use pretty much any fruit, and this is a dessert that can be made any time of year. Like I said, I did it before with sliced plums & peaches; you can also use apples. Of course it’s pear season now, but I think you still might be able to get some plums, and some apples, so use what you like. You can also cut the pastry into a pear shape, and decorate it with a puff pastry leaf at the top, to make it fancier. Or slice the pear from the bottom almost all the way to the top, cutting it into six or seven slices leaving the stem part intact, and then fan it out slightly over the puff pastry. And you can basically use any kind of pear you want, because you’re not cutting them up too much, they won’t turn to mush. If you decide to use apples, then you have to use a good baking apple (Gala, Golden Delicious, Rome, etc). But with pears, it shouldn’t matter much, so use whatever ones you like that are in season: Anjou (Red or Green), Bartletts (Red or Green; although I think they’re gone by now), Bosc, Concorde, or Forelle. I can’t really remember what mine were.

I told you, I don’t like pears.

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*You can most definitely use homemade puff pastry as well. I’m just not one for attacking people or coming down on them for not using local fruit & organic unbleached whole wheat pastry flour or for using frozen short-cuts now & then. Life is hard enough, don’t make it more complicated than it is. Pastry should be fun & delicious- not snobby enough to make you feel like you want to cry. Make it however you like! No judgment here.

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