First Almond and Pear Tart

We've never baked a tart before, but for our friend Nellie's birthday, we wanted to make something exceptional. Because we hadn't baked one, however, we encountered some issues having to do with the fact that we didn't know how. We selected a pear and almond tart recipe from Tartelette because hers always look so beautiful, but we found ourselves struggling with key terms and steps. We even resorted to the baking no-no of checking the oven every 5 minutes to make sure that our gooey mess was actually becoming a tart.

Thankfully, it did. I don't think that this will be the most delicious tart that we ever make, but I'm proud of our first attempt. The major flaws were in appearance. I forgot to peel the pears and my layering was less than perfect, so it ended up looking a bit more like moussaka than a tart. I also think that next time we'll select a recipe with a bit less cream. Still, it had the right amount of sweetness, and the pear/almond combo was, as expected, divine.

I think we learned more from this dish than we have from anything we've made in a while. We learned that blind baking means to bake without a crust, and that a small frying pan works well as a pie weight. We learned that a tart can take almost an hour to bake. The recipe we used was wonderful, but since it doesn't give cooking times, I'm going to post exactly what we did below. No guarantees on the times, so if you choose this, just be attentive and intuitive with your tart.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick of butter
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp water, if needed

(filling, makes more than I needed)
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
4 eggs
200 grams sugar (about .8 cups)
100 gr. ground almonds (about .4 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (or you can just do 2 tsp. vanilla)

To make the crust, combine all flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add yolk and pulse until it combines into a ball, adding water if necessary. Flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough and place it in tart pan, bake with pie weights for about 15-20 minutes, until it is cooked. Leave oven on. In a blender or food processor, combine all filling ingredients except for the pears and mix together. Once crust is cool, arrange pear slices in the tart pan and pour cream over it. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, until very golden and inserted knife comes out clean.