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Author Notes: This is one of my favorites - an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's French Pear Tart. It works well as both a pie and a tart. I use a trusty old recipe for a buttery crust - blind baking first ensures the crust doesn't get soggy and stays crisp. This is layered with an almond cream to which I add Amaretto for luxury and cinnamon for warmth. Over this go pear and peach slices - a welcome to fall and the last reminiscence of summer. I cover it with dough cutouts, a trick I owe to Melissa Clark, though a lattice crust works just as well. I used a maple leaf cookie cutter for this pie : ) - Heena —Heena
Food52 Review: Juicy, gooey, crispy, flaky, Heena's Amaretto Peach and Pear Pie unfolds in layers of delectable flavors and textures. The crust, a miracle of rich, buttery crispness, is covered with a glorious amaretto-infused almond cream. The two fruits melt right into the other flavors, the pear slices slightly more firm than the lumps of melting peach. Heena suggests making the almond cream and pie crust ahead of time, which streamlines the final assembly. Blind baking of the bottom crust prevents sogginess (on day 3 it remains perfectly crisp), and although not specified, I assumed it should be cooled to room temperature before it is filled. Heena has given a great recipe and instructions for the pie crust dough. I made two half-batches in a small mini-prep, with perfect results. (The thinner, smaller blade worked better for me than the regular food-processor knife blade.) Most enthusiastically recommend this for an Editors' pick. - Apple Annie —The Editors
Crust (makes enough for a double pie crust; halve the recipe for a tart)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 4-6 tablespoons ice water
- Blend the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes and drop it into the processor. Pulse until you have a coarse mixture with pea-size bits of dough. (The cold butter is essential to a flaky crust.)
- Add the ice water a little at a time and pulse until the dough just starts to clump and come together – stop as soon as this happens. Remove from the processor, and very gently knead the dough and divide into two. Flatten into disks, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour (this makes it easier to roll).
- Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin. Place one dough disk on the surface and roll out to an 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered 9-inch pie/tart pan – to do this, fold the dough into quarters, gently lift and place in the pan with the point of the dough at the centre of the pan, and unfold. Press gently onto bottom and sides of pan. Freeze for at least half an hour (this prevents shrinking).
- Preheat the oven to 375?F (190?C) with the rack in the middle. Line the bottom and sides with foil and fill with rice or beans. (I find pie weights too heavy but please use them if that's what you use.) Bake until golden, about 25 mins.
- Do ahead: You can store the unbaked dough in the refrigerator wrapped for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups blanched ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto
- 2 medium peaches, firm but ripe
- 3 medium pears, firm but ripe
- 1 small fresh lemon
- 3 tablespoons cream
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- Make the almond cream: Process the butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add the almonds and process until well blended. Add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and egg and process just until the mixture is homogeneous. Blend in the liqueur. Do ahead: You can stored the cream in the refrigerator covered for up to 2 days.
- Peel and slice the peaches lengthwise. Peel the pears and slice lengthwise. Toss the pear slices with fresh lemon juice.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Fill the prebaked crust with the almond cream. Pat the peach and pear slices dry by placing them between a double layer of paper towels. Arrange the slices alternately over the almond cream.
- If making a tart skip this step: Roll out the second dough disk. Use cookie cutters of your choice to make dough cutouts. Arrange the cutouts over the fruit in a pattern of your choice. (You can also use a regular lattice crust.) Brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 50-60 mins. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before serving. (If you have made this as a pie, serve with the best vanilla ice cream. If made as a tart, serve dusted with confectioners' sugar and sliced almonds.)