A pear tree grows in the woods next to my house, and I made a pear tart (actually two!) with its fruit. This pear tree is just one of the wonderful discoveries in my garden this summer and fall. Another one, that I’ve mentioned before, was the “resurrection” of the fig tree I planted last year. And it came out in force. It’s now almost taller than me! The weather is still summer-like, we are having a beautiful, beautiful autumn, but I start to worry about how I will protect it for the winter. I think replanting it in a pot and bringing it indoors is out of the question, the tree is too big. What should I do? Do you have any suggestions? If you do, please tell me! I’d love to see the tree alive and well next spring, and I’m afraid much of it will depend on the kind of winter, less or more harsh, that we have. If there’s a special way of wrapping the tree that will protect it better, I’d love to know.
The same thing, and another of nature’s surprises this summer, was the growth of my bougainvillea. I bought it out of sentiment, why else, the same reason I bought the fig tree. Bougainvillea grows crazily at my mom’s house in Onteniente. It frames the entrance, it grows on pillars, and it’s, oh, so welcoming and colorful. My bougainvillea started to flower about three weeks ago, and it couldn’t look more beautiful.
And then, my vegetable garden. We consumed the vegetables that we grew! I am beyond excited that we made that possible, and I’m planning to be even more ambitious for next summer.
But back to the pears. You can see from the photos that the production was abundant, and I cannot believe we missed it the past year or two. I’ve been finding ways to include them in my cooking, and I thought I would share with you the recipe for this delicious pear tart. I made two, one after another, because the first one didn’t last long. My son still wants me to bake more of them, but I tell him that there are so many other recipes to try! Nonetheless, this tart is part of our family repertoire, and I hope you make it, because it is so good. The base is flaky puff pastry (store bought, how easy is that!), and the pears rest on an almond base, light on the almond, so as to not overwhelm the pear flavor. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
Tarta de pera y hojaldre
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbs butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 Tbs flour
1 package frozen puff pastry
16 small pears
Place almonds and sugar in a food processor and pulse until ground and mixed. Add the egg and pulse. Add the butter in small cubes and pulse to mix. Add the salt, almond extract if using, vanilla extract and flour, and pulse to mix. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll the square of puff pastry. Transfer to a tart pan with a removable bottom and covered with parchment paper. Prick the surface of the pastry all over with a fork, to keep the pastry from rising too much. Spread the almond cream evenly over the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Split the pears in half transversally, remove the center stem and seeds and slice each half into thin slices. Fan each pear half and set over the almond cream, alternating in a criss-cross manner. Sprinkle with sugar.
Place the tart in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and protect the corners of the puff pastry with foil to avoid burning. Lower the heat to 375ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.