The name of this recipe should be all you need to convince you to make it. I know a tart is technically not a pie, but it's close enough, right? You definitely won't regret having this in your repertoire of pie-like things to bake.
If this tart were a human element at your family Thanksgiving, it'd be the cool uncle who sneaks you a beer in the garage when you're still just a little underage. It's boozy, sure, but it's not "Aunt Judy had too much wine, got a little crazy, and maybe fell out of her chair" boozy.
It's a nice twist on your average pear frangipane tart. The pears are steeped in the fridge overnight in a mixture of whiskey, lemon, sugar, and vanilla, and then combined with almond cream in a sweet tart dough. It also travels and stores exceptionally well, which makes it an especially good candidate for toting to your next holiday potluck-ish function.
If you're skeptical, I can tell you this: I don't actually like whiskey or bourbon (I think I'm still traumatized from a few college experiences), but I really loved this tart. It somehow simultaneously feels classic (stone fruit and almond cream are a tried and true combo) and, because of the whiskey, innovative. The flavors are warm, and comforting, and perfect for the holiday season. To make this extra delicious, serve along side a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Whiskey Pear Tart
recipe, adapted very slightly, from Baked Explorations
*important notes: this recipe involves steeping the pears overnight, so you'll need to do a little planning ahead! also, you may only need one can of pears, but the first can I opened only had 3 halves, so I had to use two cans. you can use whiskey or bourbon here. I used bourbon.
for the pears:
2 - 15oz cans of pear halves in heavy syrup (or about 6-7 halves)
1 1/2 TB lemon juice
2 TB whiskey or bourbon
3 TB sugar
1 TB vanilla extract (use the good stuff)
for the tart dough:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg, beaten
for the almond cream:
1/2 stick (2 oz) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
4 1/2 oz almond paste (make your own, if you like. I prefer to!)
1 large egg
1 1/2 TB cornstarch
1 TB whiskey or bourbon
for the glaze:
reserved steeping liquid from pears
reserved syrup from pears
1 tsp whiskey or bourbon
1 tsp cornstarch
DAY ONE: Prepare the pears and tart dough.
PEARS: Strain the pears and reserve the heavy syrup in a bowl in the fridge.
- In a medium, nonreactive bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, whiskey, sugar, and vanilla. Add the pear halves, and toss to combine. Store covered in the fridge overnight.
- TART DOUGH: put the sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter, and pulse until sandy in texture.
- Add the egg and pulse just until the dough begins to form a mass.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 1 hour).
DAY TWO: Make the tart!
- Set dough out for 15 minutes before rolling.
- Dust surface with flour, and roll dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Be sure to turn/rotate your dough and have a bench scraper handy so it doesn't get stuck to your surface.
- Gently guide dough into tart pan and press into place. Trim off excess dough.
- Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Line frozen tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil/weights, and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of your food processor, blitz butter and almond paste until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Add egg, and blitz briefly until combined. Scrape down the bowl/blade and pulse one or two more times.
- Sprinkle cornstarch over mixture, turn on processor, and drizzle in the whiskey. Blitz until combined.
- Spread almond cream over cooled tart shell.
- Drain the pear halves, reserving the steeping liquid.
- Arrange the pears on top of the almond cream as desired. I ended up slicing mine, but you can use the full halves, if you like.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up and sets, and the crust turns golden brown. Let the tart cool on a rack while you make the glaze.
- Place pear syrup and steeping liquid in a medium pan over medium-high heat, and boil until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup.
- Remove from heat, whisk quickly for a minute to cool it down a little, and then add cornstarch and whiskey. Whisk to combine.
- Return to medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute.
- Use a pastry brush to gently apply the glaze to the tart.
- Tart will keep at room temp, covered, for up to 3 days.