Pear and apple orchards still flourish in parts of wine country. The Russian River town of Sebastopol is renowned for its Gravenstein apples, prized for their crunchy texture and fine, tangy taste. When selecting apples for baking, it’s best to choose crisp, tart ones—red, green, or yellow—which will complement a buttery pastry. The firm texture of Bosc pears works well for this tart, although any unpeeled ripe pears will do.
From Dean & DeLuca, The Food and Wine Cookbook, by Jeff Morgan (Chronicle Books, 2002).
- For the pastry crust:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 2 unpeeled apples, cored
- 1 unpeeled pear, cored
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To make the crust: In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy. Whisk in the egg. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. On a floured surface, push the dough down with the heel of your floured hand, spreading the mound forward 6 to 8 inches. Pull the dough together in a mound and repeat the procedure several times, lightly flouring your hands and the surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking, until the dough develops a silky elasticity.
Form the dough into a disk and place in a self-sealing plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Cut the disk in half. Freeze one half, for up to 3 months, for later use. (If you want to make a second tart immediately, use both disk halves and follow the directions for the first tart, below. Double the filling ingredients above.)
Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured board, roll it into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 10-inch tart pan. Trim the edges.
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the apples and the pear into 1Â¼4-inch lengthwise slices. Place the slices in concentric circles or a spiral pattern. Alternate one pear slice for every two apple slices, overlapping each slice slightly.
Dot the surface of the tart with the butter. Sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack and unmold when ready to serve. Makes one 10-inch tart.