17 October 2011

Picture Perfect ... Is It Possible?

This is a pear and walnut tart ... the product of a whimsy and a bowl of ripe pears just begging to be used in their prime!

They say that copying someone is the most sincere form of flattery ... wellll ...

You know that feeling when you're leafing through a cook book and a picture of a particular dish just jumps out at you ? Continue on through the book, you may, but you return to that recipe and picture. You look and think to yourself, " I have GOT to make this! It looks soooo good and it's just soooo beautiful to look at too!"

I have been leafing through Nick Malgieri's Bake! - I think the food photography is stellar in this book. It's the work of Quentin Bacon ... and I love it! There are several pages that have stopped me cold and left me staring with jaw dropped, thinking that thought! And this is one of them. Check out this tart ... remember those perfectly ripe Bosc pears that I have in the counter top bowl? Mmmmm .... I want them to look just like this tart! Can it be done? I'm going to do my darnedest to make it picture perfect!

This recipe involves poaching the pears lightly in a lemon and sugar water with a vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick, making a hazelnut/butter/sugar crust, adding a walnut and sugar filling that surrounds the poached pears, and topping the pears with a glaze of apricot jam. I have incredibly wonderful peach jam, so I'll be subbing that. Otherwise, here we go! First things first, I'm making a sweet pastry crust with ground hazelnuts in it and poaching pears!

Once the pears are poached, they soak in a bit of pear brandy. The pastry crust gets rolled out after being chilled. And the walnut filling gets made. Everything comes together pretty quickly at this point.

In goes the walnut filling, on go the pears and into the oven until the filling sets and the crust is golden brown. I trimmed the pears down to uniform pieces (and nibbled the bits!). The brandy soak made for a really nice flavour! There's just a tablespoon, but it really soaks into the pear flesh and makes for a flavour that stays at the back of your mouth and goes into the nose ... yum. Sounds weird, but it works ...

It's amazing how much the filling rises to surround the pears ...

When everything is dusted up with confectioner's sugar and glazed with the jam, it sure is pretty!

Tea and dessert after dinner this evening ... it doesn't look like Nick's, but it's kind of pretty and I know it tastes good because I licked the spoons and nibbled the crumbs that were left when I transferred everything to the pretty plate! Ah, the sneakiness of the cook! 

See the link for the recipe ...


  1. OMG!!! Susan, you have really outdone yourself! That is just the most amazing tart I've seen... and I bet it tasted divine.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe. The farmer's market has some delectable pears on sale, I have to make this.

  2. It sure is pretty and it looks delicious!

  3. Wow, it looks so pretty. I love fall for just this reason. The pears and apples are so delicious and ripe right now.

  4. it is STUNNING Susan!... I love being inspired by food photography and you've clearly been inspired... I am actually surrounded by pears that need eating and very tempted to make this for myself right now!... nice work Susan!

  5. This looks delicious Susan.

  6. This cake is defintely picture perfect Susan. OI have seen plenty of pear varieties at the market so will find myself there on Saturday.

  7. I think it looks just as pretty as the book and I bet it tasted just as amazing!

  8. Susan, this is a gorgeous confection!It belongs in a book of its own. You asked about the village men. They generally visit and play backgammon in local coffee houses. The same thing happens in rural India. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. Wow! A beautiful and yummy looking dessert.

  10. That is one beautiful sight! Every bit as delicious looking as the picture!

  11. What fantastic post; you photos are Picture Perfect! You are a true artist with that camera.

  12. OMG!!!! This post totally deserves the OMG which is reserved for such moments only! Susan dahling - yours looks better than the one in the one in the blessed book!

    LOVELY and I can see you nibbling on those pears to get those perfect shapes...lol...

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


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