Pear Tart: A Holiday Treat

Well, I’m home for the holidays, and that means lots and lots and LOTS of cooking and baking with my mom.  This is a time of year I look forward to because the food is abundant and the company is wonderful.  My mom and I are usually baking up a storm in the kitchen, my dad is on the computer commenting occasionally on the smell wafting into the room, and my younger sister does not miss a beat to tell us what to make next.  Toby, our west highland terrier, is the best vacuum cleaner we could ever ask for and cleans up any morsel we drop on the floor.  All in all, a somewhat chaotic scene, but I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

This particular recipe is one of my favorites that my mom makes.  It’s a great winter dessert and is perfect after a big holiday dinner.  I always make sure it gets made when I come home from school because it is one of my favorite desserts.

Here is the recipe for Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Tart:

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large firm-ripe Bosc pears (2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  Pastry dough (1 store-bought, or homemade)

DIRECTIONS

Peel and halve pears, the core (preferably with a melon-ball cutter). Heat butter in a 9- to 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then stir in sugar (sugar will not be dissolved). Arrange pears, cut sides up, in skillet with wide parts at rim of skillet. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon and cook, undisturbed, until sugar turns a deep golden caramel. (This can take as little as 10 minutes or as much as 25, depending on pears, skillets, and stove.) Cool pears completely in skillet.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and trim to a 9 1/2- to 10 1/2-inch round. Arrange pastry over caramelized pears, tucking edge around pears inside rim of skillet. Bake tart until pastry is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes.

Invert a rimmed serving plate (slightly larger than skillet) over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert tart onto plate. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of epicurious

When my mom and I make this, we always make the pastry dough, but if you don’t have enough time to do that, store-bought dough is just as good.  I know Trader Joes has frozen pie crusts year round.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much and my family and I do! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

I have always loved the amazing taste of pumpkin pie.  It reminds me of beautiful fall days and getting together with family and friends for the holidays.  But the problem I always have with pie is that it is served as dessert.  Being such a foodie, I am usually too full from an amazing dinner to have room in my stomach for pie.  I can’t fully enjoy my pie if I’m already stuffed full from a previous meal.  So this is the solution…have it for breakfast!!  That way I can start the day with the delicious flavor of pumpkin and I can fully enjoy the taste of it because I will not be suffering from the food coma of a prior meal.

Because this recipe is the breakfast version of pumpkin pie, it is in the form of a muffin (a traditional breakfast food) but it still has all the flavors and spices that a normal pumpkin pie would have.  It’s perfect for a crisp fall morning when I’m running to class and don’t have enough time to sit down and eat a bowl of cereal.

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Makes about a dozen

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and flour.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among lined muffin tins, filling each cup ¾ full.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Recipe courtesy of SnixyKitchen.com

Although pumpkin pie is a classic fall food, it is sometimes fun to present those flavors in a new way.  I chose muffins because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I (and my roommates) did! Enjoy!