This is a memorable fall tart that calls for one essential ingredient: fully ripe and juicy pears, Bartlett being the most fragrant. Hard crisp pears will not soften enough to bake with the pastry. Since pears are harvested when they're still hard, you need to ripen them ahead for this dessert. Enclose them in a single layer in a paper bag and store at room temperature away from sunlight for 3 to 4 days, or uncovered on a tray, about 5 days.
- Portion size 8 servings
- Credits : Web-exclusive recipe noted in the October 2006 issue of Canadian Living Magazine
Pastry: In large bowl, whisk flour with pecans; make well in centre. In well, place butter, sugar, salt then egg yolk. With fork or floured hand, mix ingredients in well, gradually blending in flour mixture to make moist pastry.
With well-floured hand, press pastry by small handfuls over bottom and up side of shallow 9-inch (23 cm) tart tin with removeable bottom. Refrigerate until hard, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, core and cut each pear into eight 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick wedges. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and the flour; toss gently to coat. Arrange in tart shell in concentric circle. Sprinkle with remaining sugar; drizzle with butter.
Bake in bottom third of 375°F (190°C) oven until pastry is golden brown and filling bubbles up around fork-tender pears, about 40 minutes. Let cool on rack. (Make-ahead: Store for up to 3 hours.)
In microwave oven or over low heat, melt jelly; stir in port (if using). Spoon over pears. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 hour.)