Friday, March 21, 2008

Autumn Apple Pear Tarts

Tart apples and sweet pears bake under a flaky crust in a perfect fall dessert for two. I have baked this using only apples but I like the sweet-tart flavor combination from both fruits. I’ve also added a handful of dried cranberries on occasion. Use an apple variety recommended for cooking such a Gala, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty or Granny Smith. My favorite pear is the D’Anjou because I like the texture, as it’s not as soft as a Bartlett. Frozen puff pastry shells are the perfect size to cover individual tarts. After removing two shells from the package you can refreeze the remainder.

Makes 2 tarts

2 puff pastry shells, thawed (from a 10 oz. package)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 D’Anjou pear, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. and place the oven rack in the center. Roll each pastry shell out to a 5½-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. (Thaw the shells in the refrigerator.)

Combine the apple, pear, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Mix gently until the flour is thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture in half and place in two 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

Center a pastry over each dish and press firmly to the edges. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and cinnamon and cut 3 slits in each to allow the steam to escape. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. I also test the fruit with a fork to be sure that the apples are tender.

Serve the tarts warm with a little ice cream if you are feeling indulgent.

MORE ABOUT PEELING AND SELECTING FRUIT: I don’t feel like I have to have every gadget out there but last summer I discovered a “soft fruit peeler”. It looks just like a vegetable peeler but has a serrated blade and is perfect for peeling pears, peaches and tomatoes. I now consider it an essential!!

A pear is ripe if it gives slightly when you gently press on the stem end. Because pears ripen from the inside out if the pear is soft to the touch it is too ripe. Pears can be used before they are fully ripe as they soften in baking.

Copyright by Pat Sinclair 2007,

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