Quick Pear Tart

This recipe came from our friend Mike Schiff.  He wrote it down for me on an 8.5" x 11" ruled notebook paper.  It quickly became a family favorite. Mike's recipe was originally a plum tart, but as you'll see, the recipe is quite adaptable and a number of fruits can be used in place of the plum.  The tart base is like a cookie dough which gets pressed down into a pie plate.  Then you just push peeled, cored, fruit slices into the dough and bake.  I've even been known to use canned pears in a pinch.  Just make sure they're well drained. On Chowhound, one of the site's favorite recipes is a variation on this tart/cake.  I'm thinking I should try it out and do a comparison.

Quick Pear Tart
Makes one 9" tart.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grease a 9" pyrex pie pan.  You can use the wrapper from the stick of butter you'll be using in the next step.

In a mixing bowl, cream together:
1 stick butter (= 4 oz = 8 tbs)
1/2 cup sugar

Add to bowl and beat until combined:
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 egg

Add and beat until just mixed:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Spread batter evenly into greased pie pan.

Peel, core and slice into quarters (or smaller pieces, then you can fit in more pear):
3-4 pears

Press pear slices face down into batter.  Dot with:
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes

Sprinkle with:
1 tbs sanding sugar

Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 30 minutes or until skewer inserted into middle of tart (through the batter part) comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or crème fraîche.

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