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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.