A fruit tart with ripe pears, and a rich cornmeal and walnut crust with beautiful lattice top.
If you don't have a food processor, you can use the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, a pastry cutter, or two forks to cut the cold butter into the cornmeal-flour mixture. Make sure that you choose a fine grade of cornmeal (not the coarser polenta) for best results. You can make the pastry ahead and store it refrigerated, sealed in a plastic bag, for up to a week. Let it warm up a little bit before rolling it out.
The recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds pears, and you can substitute apples for half. The two fruit combine beautifully! My own favorite formula is 3 Granny Smith apples, 1 very ripe D'Anjou pear, and 1 Bosc pear.
- 1/2 cup California walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup cornmeal, fine
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 egg, large
- About 1/3 cup water
- 2 1/2 pounds pears (any kind, or a mixture), ripe
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, fresh
- 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup, pure
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, unbleached
- Dash of salt
- *Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
- Combine the walnuts, cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse until the walnuts are ground into a coarse meal. Pour the olive oil on top of the dry ingredients in the food processor. Run the machine in a few long pulses, until the oil is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg and pulse once or twice--just until it is incorporated--then pulse in enough water to bring the dough together. Remove the dough from the food processor, and gather it together, kneading lightly into one mass.
- Break the dough into two uneven pieces, approximately 2/3 and 1/3. Form each piece into a ball, and flatten each ball into a thick disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger dough into a 13-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Ease it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable base, and trim the edges. Roll out the smaller disc and cut into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Peel the fruit and cut it into thin slices. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, and drizzle with lemon or lime juice and maple syrup. Sprinkle with the flour and salt and toss to coat.
- Spread the fruit in the crust. Arrange the strips of dough on top in a crisscross pattern; then push the ends of the strips into the edges of the bottom crust to hold them in place. (You might need to wet them a little to make them stick.) Place the filled tart on a baking tray, and bake in the lower half of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden on the top and around the edges.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the rim of the pan and serving the tart. Serve warm or at room temperature. This tastes especially good with a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side.