A few weeks ago, an old co-worker of mine got in touch with me and asked if I could whip something up as a surprise for his girlfriend's birthday. He was thinking picnic fare: something with fruit which could be easily transported and eaten without utensils. To me, picnic=tarts. It's that simple.
Since the berries were all gone, I went with a fall classic: pear and frangipane. I made individual tartlets which are easier to carry than full-sized tarts, and need no portioning. Plus I got to use my cute little molds!
I poached pear halves in white wine, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla until they were tender. I rolled out my tart dough, filled it with frangipane, to which I added some grated sapote for that extra little something, and place a pear half in the middle. I baked them until the frangipane was golden and the pear was super tender. I glazed them with the leftover poaching liquid and garnished them with lemon thyme from our garden.
We ate one of the "uglier" ones, to test it, of course. It was perfectly fall. There are several pears in season at the moment, including my favourites: Flemish Beauties and Seckel. Now is definitely the time for pears, so take advantage of them before the cranberries take over.
I hope they liked the tartlets, and, yes, I do take orders.