This post is going to be short and sweet: the formation of the tart crust.
My sous chef, Agnes, unfortunately was swamped with work that day so I just prepped them.
Essentially the texture and taste of this crust is much like shortbread: buttery, crisp and quite dense to hold the weight of the almond pastry cream and pears. I have not perfected it yet: it always seems to be either too thick or too thin to the point of my observations of guests using their molars to break it or thin enough to crack down the middle.
But beyond this, people don’t seem to mind too much beyond trying to force the fork into the last and final layer since the crust really is delicious. And again, you can find the full recipe here:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and blend in using on/off turns until moist clumps form. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
Bake crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
This time around I accidentally overcooked the crust so it was a little too dark but it doesn’t matter in the end since the pears will cover it.
To shape the crust, my method of doing it is dumping a big scoop in the center of the tart pan and then using my first to pound down the bottom first and eventually working my way up along the sides. To get a even thickness on the side, use your index fingers to pinch it securely around the rim.