WTSIM…Big Fat Greek Topless Pear Tart!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This month, WTSIM… is being hosted by Jeanne of Cook Sister! fame. The theme she has selected is Topless Tarts, that is, a tart with no top crust. It can be savory or sweet, but it cannot have a crust, crumble or any other kind of topping on it. The good news is, that I have a lengthy list of great tart recipes that I’ve been wanting to try. The bad news is, that I have to go out of town in a few days and I have just as long a list of things I need to do before I go. I really wanted to participate in this event, so I had to put my thinking cap on and come up with a relatively easy recipe that didn’t require too many ingredients or steps to prepare.
The first thing I did was take stock of what was already in my pantry and my freezer. I actually had a lot more than I thought. There was a package of filo dough in the freezer that I had bought a long time ago for something that I can’t even remember now. The old light bulb went on in my head. I haven’t ever worked much with filo, but I love how it bakes up so crunchy and flaky. I could use it for a tart crust!

The next step was figuring out what to fill it with. My husband always call my pantry the “Bermuda Triangle” of food. This is actually not far from the truth. I am always buying interesting looking things at the market with the intention of somehow using them in something. The problem is that I develop “pantry-related ADD” and often forget about them. The result is an overstuffed maze of cans, jars and boxes. I need a search party to find things in there! Luckily, I was able to locate a few cans of pear halves. I was hoping for apricots, but pears were a good alternative.
I pretty much made this recipe up as I went along. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do when I started, but I decided that since I was using filo dough, I would try to give the tart a Greek flair. I love baklava, so I dug out some honey and cinnamon. Then, I grabbed some slivered almonds and Demerara sugar for crunch. Pretty soon, I was instinctively creating my Big, Fat, Greek Topless Pear Tart!
Since I usually cringe at the thought of making pie crust or tart dough from scratch, this was an ideal choice for me. There was no mixing, blending, cutting or rolling involved. I basically just layered the sheets of filo in a starburst pattern on a large, flat surface, brushing each sheet lightly with melted butter. Every fourth sheet also got a generous sprinkling of a mixture of Demerara sugar, cinnamon and chopped almonds. I used about 16 sheets of filo and then I placed the pears in the center as prettily as I could. I rolled up the edges of the filo around the pears and I baked it on my pizza stone. When the tart was finished baking, I drizzled honey all over it.
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It was absolutely delicious! It tasted just like baklava, only stuffed with pears. The filo stayed crispy and light, even though it was drenched in that delectably gooey honey. The pears held up to the baking really nicely. I served it with a scoop of Kieran’s fantastic Gelato alla Crema and it was instant bliss. I would absolutely make this tart again. Next time, though, I’ll make sure I have apricots!
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My Big Fat Greek Topless Pear Tart!

2 large or 4 small cans Bartlett pear halves in heavy syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Demerara sugar + 2 tbsp. extra
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
1 box frozen filo dough sheets, thawed
1/4-1/2 cup honey
Heat oven to 350 degrees
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Drain pears, reserving syrup. Place pears on paper towels and pat dry. Slice into thin slices and set aside.

Mix sugar, cinnamon and almonds together in a small bowl.

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On a baking sheet or pizza stone, begin layering filo, one sheet at a time, placing each sheet at a different angle to make a kind of starburst shape. Brush each sheet lightly with butter. On every fourth sheet, sprinkle some of the sugar/cinnamon/almond mixture on top, and resume layering. Repeat this process four times. .

Arrange pears in a circular pattern, centered on top of the filo.
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Carefully fold up the edges of the filo toward the center, brushing with more butter if too stiff.

Sprinkle extra sugar on top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Drizzle honey all over the top and serve.

Enjoy!

15 responses to WTSIM…Big Fat Greek Topless Pear Tart!

  1. On November 26, 2007 at 10:11am, Tartelette said...

    Gorgeous! You did a beautiful job with the pear layout and that first picture is droolworthy! Coming over, put the tea kettle on!

  2. On November 26, 2007 at 11:35am, Brilynn said...

    I’ve always got filo dough in the freezer, I should start making some tarts of my own!

  3. On November 26, 2007 at 9:53pm, Elle said...

    That is a work of art. I’d love a piece, thank you.

  4. On November 26, 2007 at 11:20pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Tartelette- Thanks! The tea kettle is on. You’re always welcome here!

    Brilynn- Seriously, I would never have thought to use filo for a tart, but it worked great. I can’t wait to make some more!

    Elle- Thank you. Hitch a ride with Tartelette and come on over!

  5. On November 27, 2007 at 10:41am, Freya and Paul said...

    I love Greek sweets and this one is reallllly sweet!

  6. On November 29, 2007 at 11:51am, Mary said...

    your tart really looks beautiful. I love how you made the rosette out of pears.

  7. On November 29, 2007 at 7:18pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Freya & Paul- It is sweet and crunchy too! You can control the sweetness by using more or less honey. Of course, I use more!

    Mary- Thank you so much! It wasn’t hard to do at all.

  8. On November 30, 2007 at 12:28am, Tartelette said...

    And you are a Daring Baker..eheheh!!! Now, that’s enough to give you a boost. No more talk about feeling down, now ok? And yes, I am your personal cheerleader! Go Susan!!

  9. On November 30, 2007 at 4:19am, Big Boys Oven said...

    this really look so incredible, looks simple and yet …I know it is delicous!

  10. On November 30, 2007 at 6:12am, Patricia Scarpin said...

    I love how beautiful and delicious this looks with the filo sheets – and it doesn’t seem hard to put together. Perfect!

  11. On November 30, 2007 at 8:50am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Helene- Thanks! I don’t know how good a baker I will be, but I am daring to try! I’m looking forward to it.

    Big Boys Oven- I’m glad you like my tart. Once I tasted it, I had to rush to write down how I made it so that I could do it again!

    Patricia- Thank you so much! It really was easy to do. I can’t wait to try it with some different ingredients.

  12. On November 30, 2007 at 9:35pm, Jen Yu said...

    That’s lovely, Susan. I think the photos in this post are awesome.
    Whatever it is you are doing with the photography (if you’re doing anything differently at all!) is wonderful. Keep up the great work and thanks for such a gorgeous dessert idea. Most importantly, I hope you are having fun :)

    -jen at use real butter

  13. On December 01, 2007 at 12:13am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Jen- Thank you very much. I’ve been following some of the great advice you gave me. That has made a big difference! It also helps when the weather cooperates. I set up a little photo area on my screened lanai. When the light is right, it is a lot easier to get a decent shot.

  14. On December 07, 2007 at 1:30pm, Julie said...

    This recipe sounds utterly delicious! It’s so much fun to cook on the fly and end up with something fabulous. I love baklava too.
    Julie

  15. On December 07, 2007 at 3:11pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Julie- You are so right. Some of my best creations have come from “winging it”.

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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