Rustic Pear Tart with Walnut Streusel Topping

By • September 15, 2011 • 21 Comments

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Author Notes: This tart takes the best components of our family's (and the entire neighborhood's!) favorite breakfast cake -- my Pear-Filled Cowboy Coffee Cake -- and puts them on a flavorful rustic crust. Pears, like most juicy fruit, tend to shrink a bit when baked, so I cut rather large chunks, which I then cover generously with a walnut streusel. I sprinkle a bit of the streusel, without the nuts, on the bottom of the crust to soak up some of the juice from the fruit. You could top with vanilla ice cream, or crème fraiche, or Greek yogurt. We like it though just as it is. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Makes one 10-inch tart

The Crust

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen, cut into three slices
  • 2 heaping tablespoons fine leaf lard, frozen (or shortening, if you prefer)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup barley flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  1. Put the frozen butter and lard or shortening in a medium metal bowl in the freezer. If you're using a food processor and your blade is metal, put that in the bowl, too.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of the food processor. Measure 3 tablespoons of ice water and the cider vinegar into a small dish or measuring cup. Get the blade (only) from the freezer and set up your food processor. (If you want to work this by hand and not use your food processor, that's fine, too.)
  3. Pulse the dry ingredients three or four times to combine. Add the frozen butter and lard; put the bowl back in the freezer. Pulse, using long bursts, ten or twelve times. Scrape down the bowl and give it a few short bursts. You should have chunks of fat in all sizes. Only if some of them are very large should you pulse again a few times. Chunks the size of sugar cubes are fine.
  4. Dump the contents of the food processor into the cold metal bowl. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of ice water and the vinegar on it. Work quickly to combine. I use the back of a fork for this. Scoop it up with your hands and press the dough together. If it's still noticeably dry, sprinkle on another tablespoon of ice water and briskly work it in.
  5. Squeeze the dough together quickly and dump it onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pull the wrap up and around it and shape it quickly into a thick disk about 5 inches in diameter. I just kind of pat it into shape, to keep the warmth of my hands from affecting the dough.
  6. Fully cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Don't bother to wash out the bowl of your food processor. You can use it, in just the state it's in, to make the streusel topping.

The Rustic Pear Tart and Walnut Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon + a dash for sprinkling on the crust before baking
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Tiny dash of cloves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • ¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 large pears (I prefer barely ripe Bartletts; Bosc also work well, but you may want to peel them.)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, or more to taste (pecans and almonds can also be used)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  1. Pulse in the food processor about three or four times the flour, brown sugar, salt, spices and wheat germ. Add the butter and pulse 9 or 10 times, or until the butter is broken down into marble-sized chunks.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Position one shelf right at the lower third of the oven.
  3. Take your crust out of the refrigerator and turn it onto a well floured surface. Dust your rolling pin with flour, and roll out the crust, turning occasionally and sprinkling with flour, until it's about 13 inches in diameter.
  4. Lift the crust gently onto a large piece of parchment paper. Spread about two heaping tablespoons of the streusel topping on the crust, leaving the outer 1 ½ inch of crust bare.
  5. Quarter, core and peel the pears, then cut the quarters into large chunks (4 or 5 pieces per quarter. (I often don't peel Bartletts, given how thin their skins are these days.) Drop the pieces directly onto the streusel covered crust. Make a tall mound of pear pieces in the center. It will look like too many pear chunks, but once it cooks, you'll see that it's not.
  6. Add the walnuts to the remaining streusel topping and stir to combine. Pour it all over the pears, with a bit more on the pears in the middle.
  7. Pull about 1 1/2 inch of the crust up around the edges, pleating if you like, or just leaving it rough and free form. Mix the teaspoon of sugar with a dash of cinnamon and sprinkle that around the outside edge.
  8. Slide the parchment paper and tart together gently onto an open-sided cookie sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the edges are a nice golden brown and the pears in the middle seem to be mostly cooked. If the crust starts to brown too soon, cover lightly with a foil ring.
  9. Allow the tart to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  10. Enjoy!! ;o)

Tags: autumn dessert, Fruit dessert, fruit tart, galette, pie, tart

Comments (21) Questions (0)

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6 months ago dymnyno

Wow! It works!

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over 2 years ago buchanantr

I was very pleased with the results, especially on second tasting. I was skeptical of too much goodness in the crust. I've tried whole wheat flour in the past and the results were not as good - was it the wheat germ? Couldn't resist a little 1/2 1/2 brushed on the crust to help some cinnamon sugar stick better. Result a lovely brown color and a tender, flaky almost gritty texture. I also added a T of Poire to try to concentrate the pear flavors. Didn't hurt but could always use more! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you so much, buchanantr! I love your additions. Will have to do the same next time I make one of these. ;o)

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Beautiful, AJ, and it definitely takes me into a Fall/Winter mood when I look at the photo!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, lapadia . . . . and yes, pears + walnuts = what we love about the fall! ;o)

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over 2 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

luscious-looking; perfect fall dessert. winner!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks so much, SLCx! Yes, it makes me happy that fall is here. The key to its lusciousness are the seemingly giant chunks of still-slightly-green pear, which hold their shape and stand up well to the lightly spiced streusel and toasted walnuts. ;o)

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

wow, perfect for a chilly fall morning with a cup of coffee..Awesome!
Any suggestions for a lard replacement? can I just use butter?

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, Panfusine! I'd use organic, non-hydrogenated shortening. I've done shortening + butter in a similar ratio in the past, and liked that better than all-butter. It gives the crust a bit of tenderness. The key is to freeze it all good and hard, so that it doesn't blend right away into the flour. ;o).

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Delicious -- another wonderful recipe. I have wheat germ on my grocery list so I'm able to make this and/or your coffee cake!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, EmilyC. Wheat germ is great in biscuits/scones, muffins, breads, etc, too. (Look at my recipes here for anything baked and you'll see I use it in everything!) ;o)

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Absolutey gorgeous, everything about this tart is amazing!!! saving and making it soon.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You are so kind, sdbrango. Thank you. ;o)

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over 2 years ago Niknud

Sigh. Sometimes I feel seriously out-classed here. This is one of those times. I have tart envy.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So do I (feel seriously outclassed here), except that in my case, I'd say "usually." ;o)

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over 2 years ago Fairmount_market

This looks so delicious, and makes me happy that the fall season is upon us.

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You know, F-m, I felt exactly the same way last night as I served my French Country Soup (full of kale this week!!) and this for dinner. Thanks for your kind words. ;o)

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This is just gorgeous, AJ!

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, HLA! I am grateful that it turned out so well on the first try, so close to the deadline. It's been (and continues to be!) a crazy busy week in the office. ;o)

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Okay, this is what you get for pushing the deadline, and not submitting your recipe until exactly 9 PM PDT. I didn't have time to proof it, and now see that the quantity of nuts is missing. It should be 1/2 cup. ;o)

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOL, nice recipe!