Alex Guarnaschelli Blogs: My Boozy Pear and Almond Tart Recipe

Alex Guarnaschelli Tart

Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network celebrity chef, author of Old-School Comfort Food and the executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurants. Read her blog every Tuesday to get her professional cooking tips, family-favorite recipes and personal stories of working in front of the camera and behind the kitchen doors. Follow her on Twitter at @guarnaschelli.

A banana rum filling replaces a more traditional cream filling with a fruity and slightly boozy center for this pear tart. The filling makes the ice cream or whipped cream you serve alongside this even tastier, too.

I like to use Bosc or Anjou pears because they are tasty and sturdy. If you’re feeling ambitious, use double the amount of smaller Forelle pears instead.

Be careful when making the caramel and cooking the pears. The process is fairly simple and has few ingredients but must be done with care. If you don’t like pear skin, peel the pears. They may cook slightly quicker without the skin. Your call.

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Alex Guarnaschelli Tart

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pear, Almond and Dark Rum Tart
Serves: 8-10

The crust:
¾ stick (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups (12-14 oz.) slivered almonds, finely ground
¾ cup sugar

The filling:
7 tbsp. dark rum
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. Blackstrap Molasses
1 tsp. dry ginger
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
7 medium bananas, peeled

The pears:
About 2½ lbs. (about 6) medium Bosc or Anjou pear, halved and cored
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1 tbsp. Sherry vinegar

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Make the crust: Grease the sides and bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with some of the butter. In a medium bowl, mix together the nuts, remaining butter and sugar until it resembles coarse crumbs. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the tart is firm and golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Set aside.

3. Make the rum mixture: In a small saucepan, combine the rum, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses and ginger. Bring to simmer and stir to dissolve the brown sugar. Shut off the heat and keep warm.

4. Make the filling: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and melt and allow it to brown slightly. Toss in the bananas and arrange them, with a wooden spoon, in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn them on their second side and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Pour the rum mixture over them. Add 2 tbsp. water and cook over medium heat until the bananas become tender, 3-5 minutes. Mash the bananas into the rum mixture with the tines of a fork. Note: If the mixture starts to separate, add another splash water and whisk until it comes back together. Cool.

5. Cook the pears: In a large skillet, heat the sugar over low heat until it melts and turns a very light brown, 10-12 minutes. Carefully remove the skillet from the heat and add the cinnamon and pear halves, flesh side down, in a single layer. Return the skillet to medium heat and cook, moving the pears around from time to time with a wooden spoon, until the pears become tender, 12-15 minutes. Carefully place the pan in the oven and allow them to finish cooking until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Add the lemon juice and zest and the Sherry vinegar to the pears.

6. Assemble the tart: Place the tart bottom on a serving platter. Spoon the banana rum filling on top leaving a 1-inch edge. Top with the pears in a single layer, flesh side up, and pour the cooking liquid from the pears over them. Top with remaining almonds.

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