Pear Tart with Candied Walnuts

November 8, 2020

This pear tart recipe is a delicious fruit tart made using an old French method passed down in my family. Full of fall flavors like cinnamon, caramel, and ripe pear – you will love this pear tart!

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Pear tart with candied walnuts on table.

Pear Tart with Candied Walnuts

Pears are such a lovely fall treat that seem so fleeting. Much like figs, pears seem to come all at once, and then be gone until the following harvest. Well, juicy, ripe, peak-of-flavor pears that is.

Aside from their unique flavor, pears are beautiful in every way. Their color, texture, and shape is a work of art. I even included them in my wedding as place cards…that’s how much I love pears.

My in-laws have a pear tree, and gifts me with juicy ripe pears each harvest. In the past, I have made chutneys, but this year I decided to make pear butter and a pear tart. I use the same method here as I describe in my French fruit tart recipe, which my aunt taught me to make.

The pear tart has since been consumed, but here remains the evidence of its beauty. Like apple butter, pear butter will last as a reminder throughout the year.

To sweeten my pear butter, I used honey from the ranch. This adds a wonderful flavor! I love combining honey with figs and herbs (especially brie cheese in an appetizer form – yum!). This combination of honey + pears + spiced is divine! There is a richness in honey that I absolutely love. In my recipe steps I recommend brown sugar, but you could really use any sweetener you’d like such as honey or maple syrup.

Pear tart with candied walnuts on table.

To make a pear tart, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pear Butter (or any fruit jam)
  • Ripe Pears
  • Coarse Sugar (optional)
  • Walnuts
  • Maple Syrup
Pear tart crust being prepared in tart pan

How to make the pear tart:

  • Prepare the compote: If you do not have pear butter on hand, you can make a quick pear compote. To make, peel and core 3 pears and roughly chop the fruit. Place in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Once soft, use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the fruit. Add brown sugar (honey or maple syrup are alternatives), salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground allspice. Raise heat to medium and simmer until the compote thickens, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Prepare the crust: combine butter, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add 1 tablespoon icy cold water at a time, pulsing between additions, until a crumbly crust forms. Tip: If you add a little too much water, you can always add a bit more flour. The consistency should be that of crumbly sand or fluffy snow. It should not be like clay or wet snow. Then press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers, working quickly and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the tart: Preheat your oven to 375 F. Prick the tart crust with a fork, and spread 1 cup of pear butter or compote evenly in the crust. Peel and core the pears, thinly slice, and place evenly over the jam. Decorate however you’d like with the fruit. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional) and bake for 30 minutes, or until the jam is bubbly, and the fruit begins to caramelize.
  • Prepare the candied walnuts: While the tart bakes, toast roughly chopped walnuts with maple syrup in a frying pan until just toasted. Do not burn. Reserve until ready to serve.
  • Once the tart is baked, sprinkle with the candied walnuts, and enjoy!
Prepared pear tart in tart dish ready to go in oven.

Tips for making fruit tarts:

Use fresh, ripe fruit: The fruit is the star of the show, so mushy, overripe fruit will not produce best results.

Chill the crust: Prepare the crust and press it into the tart pan with your fingers, then chill for at least 30 minutes.

Jam, Jelly, & Compote: You can use any jam or jelly for the “base” of the tart. In this case, I recommend pear butter. If you don’t have pear butter, you can make a quick pear compote or try apple butter or apricot jam.

Slice of pear tart on a plate

No pear butter? No problem.

If you do not have pear butter, you can make a quick pear compote.

A compote is made by softening the fruit (with heat), then mashing it (you can even use the back of a fork), and adding some sugar and thickening it up by cooking it down.

In this instance, you can really get creative. I used honey, but you can use brown sugar, granulated sugar, or even maple syrup. I also added cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg for a fall flavor combination. You can add any spices you’d like.

I also sprinkled in a pinch of salt to balance the flavors and added in a little bit of vanilla extract.

The key to developing the rich flavor, is taking the time to let the compote cook down a bit, this takes 20-30 minutes as the sauce thickens. You will need to watch it closely, stirring frequently, to prevent burning! The sugars can burn quick ;).

Pear tart with candied walnuts on table.

Pear Tart FAQ

What if I don’t have an immersion blender?

If preparing the compote, you can use a potato masher or even the back of a fork to mash the pears. Having a few lumps is okay!

What if I don’t have a food processor?

When making the crust, you can use a party cutter or even your hands to prepare the crust. I suggest cutting the butter into sugar cube sized pieces before adding to the mixture, this will help speed up the process and reduce the amount of time you’re handling the crust.

Can I make a tart with a pie dish?

You can certainly make a tart with a pie dish; however, you may see some shrinkage on the crust when you bake it. Rather than using a pie dish, I would instead suggest making a galette. Simply roll the chilled dough out, add the compote and fruit to the center leaving a 3″ lip around the edge, then gently folder over to make the galette. Bake the same as you would the tart.

Can I use pre-made pie dough?

Absolutely!! If homemade crust isn’t your thing. Just use a premed pie dough, press it into the tart pan, and trim off any excess crust.

Do I have to use pear compote or pear butter?

Nope, you can really use any type of fruit jam or compote to make this pear tart. Apple butter would be my first alternate selection followed up apricot jam.

Pear tart with candied walnuts on table.
Yield: 8

Pear Tart with Candied Walnuts

Pear tart with candied walnuts on table.

This spiced pear tart is adorned with candied walnuts and full of fall flavors in every bite! With a crisp buttery crust, you will love this pear tart recipe!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • FOR THE COMPOTE (only make if not using pear butter):
  • 3 ripe pears (peeled, cored, and roughly chopped)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water (plus more if necessary)
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 8 oz. pear butter or pear compote
  • 3-4 ripe pears (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • CANDIED WALNUTS:
  • 1/4 cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

    If needed, prepare the compote: Peel and core 3 pears and roughly chop the fruit. Place in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Once soft, use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash the fruit. Add brown sugar (honey or maple syrup are alternatives), salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground allspice. Raise heat to medium and simmer until the compote thickens, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Prepare the crust: combine butter, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add 1 tablespoon icy cold water at a time, pulsing between additions, until a crumbly crust forms. Tip: If you add a little too much water, you can always add a bit more flour. The consistency should be that of crumbly sand or fluffy snow. It should not be like clay or wet snow. Then press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers, working quickly and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Prepare the tart: Preheat your oven to 375 F. Prick the tart crust with a fork, and spread 1 cup of pear butter or compote evenly over the crust. Peel and core the pears, thinly slice, and place evenly over the jam. Decorate however you’d like with the fruit. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional) and bake for 30 minutes, or until the jam is bubbly, and the fruit begins to caramelize.

    Prepare the candied walnuts: While the tart bakes, toast roughly chopped walnuts with maple syrup in a frying pan until just toasted. Do not burn. Reserve until ready to serve.

    Once the tart is baked, sprinkle with the candied walnuts, and enjoy!

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