10 Minute (Beautiful) French Pear Tart

With a simple topping that melts into a beautiful glaze & a press-in crust, this French Pear Tart is a quick, easy & tasty dessert. Vegan option. Pear Tart

Isn’t it nice when grace and practicality come together seamlessly?  The recipe that this lovely, tasty tart is based on came from Food 52 via a now-closed blog and was billed as a 10-minute tart!  How good it that!   Originally made with peaches, I admit it took me 15 minutes. Still not complaining!

Key to the beauty and simplicity of this dish is the “glaze” that you see on top.  It’s actually a simple crumb mix of flour, butter and sugar, combined (use your fingers if you want) and sprinkled atop the pears.  Then it melts effortlessly into a glistening lush glaze. 

How do you beat a perfect shine that requires no brushing of melted jelly!

slice of pear tart

What is a French Pear Tart vs Frangipane or Almond Pear Tart?   

While defining a tart may not seem like a difficult question, I am actually more confused now than before I started researching.    If you google French Apple Tart, you will find recipes that are quite similar to my pear tart–except using apples of course.  Sometimes they are very close and sometimes they also add a pastry cream or custard (egg and cream) base.  

But looking up French Pear Tart usually (but not always) gives you a tart with pears set in frangipane, a ground almond custard.  And though I love it dearly, I consider frangipane a VERY different recipe–see here for my Pear Frangipane Tart, pictured below. 

Pear Frangipane Tart

Yes, this is the first time I’ve found that simply changing out the fruit used in a recipe–from the French Apple Tart in this case–results in an identity crisis.  And now I really don’t know what to call this.  Pear Tart, alas, seems simply too generic alone.

Why You’ll Love This!

So Easy.  I know we bloggers are always saying recipes are easy, but this really, truly is!

Tasty.  I think pears are underrated.  All they need is a simple glaze and they really shine!

Impressive.  With the lovely concentric circles and the shiny golden glaze, people will think you’re a real pro!

pear tart with slice out and coffee

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour. This is the main component of the crust and also helps thicken the topping. I used half whole wheat in the crust.
  • Salt.  Adds flavor and may help counter any bitterness from the olive oil (and whole wheat if used)
  • Vegetable or canola oil (or butter). This moistens and helps hold the crust together. Using an oil mix will help lighten up the flavor that even mild olive oil can add.
  • Mild olive oil (or butter). This moistens and helps hold the crust together.  Plus olive oil is healthy and suitable for vegan diets.
  • Water or milk.  Moistens the crust.
  • Vanilla. Adds flavor.
  • Sugar.  This adds sweetness and shine.
  • Margarine or butter. I use butter but vegan eaters can use margarine.  
  • Pears.  The filling.  I’ve made this successfully with red pears, yellow pears and the earthy brown Bosc pears. Asian pears (which are very different) would probably not have the moisture content to work in this.  See “Variations” below for more ideas.

Special Tools

  • 11 inch tart pan, ideally with a removable bottom. 
  • A food processor is nice but you can mix the crust and toppings by hand without too much difficulty.

Step by Step Directions

Mix crust ingredients. Press the dough into an 11 inch tart pan till it covers the bottom of the pan and edges up the side. The crust above the “fruit line” tended to brown a lot so going half way up the sides worked well for me.

raw crust in pan

Mix together  the crumb topping ingredients.

mmix topping

Arrange pears in two circles on the crust, starting on the outside.

pears in tart

Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top.

sprinkle topping over pears

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until glaze is shiny and bubbling and the crust is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

How to Serve

This is a delicious dessert for any dinner or brunch.  I like to top with a dollop of whipped cream.  A mint leaf can be a nice garnish as well. 

I’ve brought this to our Thanksgiving buffet and after an absence of a few years, I think it’s time to bring it back. One pumpkin pie, one apple, one pecan, then the sky’s the limit!pear tart slice with whipped cream

Variations

Happily this is already vegetarian and vegan.  To go gluten free you could use your favorite gluten free crust and change the thickener in the topping to a something other than flour.

I’ve also done a version of this as a simple Plum Tart.  For that recipe, the main difference is the addition of linzer spices (cloves, cinnamon, etc) to the crust.  This compliments the more robust flavor of the plums.  

Besides plums, I have also made this successfully with peaches–and failed with apples.  The key is that the fruit have enough moisture to help create the glaze. 

Now if you’d like to venture into other pear pies, I have a few more suggestions.  Consider my Pear Custard Pie another simple but elegant dessert with sweet pears in an eggy vanilla custard, or this  Drunken Chocolate Pear Tart which is essentially red wine poached pears set into a brownie-like base.

pear tart

Preparation and Leftovers

This French Pear Tart is best made the same day you serve it, since it softens some over time. It starts out with a bit of crystallization along the crust that is sweet, crunchy and quite lovely.

For a couple days after, the leftovers are still good (refrigerate after serving).

pear tart with slice cut

Tips & FAQs

Don’t shortchange your baking time.  That crystallization that I mentioned above requires that the glaze get hot enough (that is bubbly enough). 

Do I need to peel the pears?  You can peel the pears if you prefer, but I find them nicely soft in the final tart.  I am a notorious non-peeler, on principle, but even I admit that my Betty Crocker French Apple Pie is a litttle bit better with peeled apples.  But since my kids don’t complain about the peels in this, it really must work.

Be sure to use ripe pears so they have enough moisture to facilitate the creation of the glaze. 

And finally, I want to reiterate not to make this with apples because, when I did, the drier apples never released enough juice to form a good glaze.  I know I just talked about the similarity to French Apple Tarts but since my apple version failed, I’m sure there are subtle differences. Perhaps the solution’s as simple as thinner slices and maybe some added moisture (Calvados anyone?) but until I succeed, I wouldn’t want to lead you astray.

Though Calvados has me thinking.  Perhaps a boozy pear tart would be in order…

Pear Tart

10 Minute (Beautiful) French Pear Tart

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

With a simple topping that melts into a beautiful glaze & press-in crust, this French Pear tart is a quick, easy & tasty dessert. Vegan option.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup mild olive oil (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons milk or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold margarine or butter

Filling:

  • 3-4 large ripe pears, cored and sliced (about 1/3-inch thick)–or peaches, sliced with stone removed.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425. Place a piece of foil or a baking sheet on the lower rack to protect the oven from dripping juice while the tart is baking.

Make the crust. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork. Press the dough into an 11 inch tart pan with your fingers till it covers the bottom and about halfway up the sides. The crust above the “fruit line” tended to brown a lot so not going to the top worked better for me.

Make the crumb topping. Combine the topping ingredients and mix until crumbly.

Assemble your tart. Starting on the outside, arrange the pear slices in concentric circles over the pastry. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until shiny and bubbly and the crust is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

Before using the olive oil, I suggest that you taste yours and make sure it tastes very neutral--similar to canola oil. Refined olive oil is usually very mild, but extra virgin olive oil (even "mild" extra virgin) will impart it's distinctive taste. Not a problem if you like that even in sweet foods but most people prefer a lighter oil. You can always use extra of whatever light oil you used instead.

Originally published Apr 4, 2012

46 thoughts on “10 Minute (Beautiful) French Pear Tart

  1. Tad Blake-Weber

    Hi Inger,

    Just a question — some of the ingredients don’t say teaspoon or Tablespoon … mainly wondering about the amount of vanilla — I assume its teaspoon. Can you clarify? Thanks!

    1. Inger Post author

      “t” is actually the abbreviation for teaspoon. I usually write them out because I’ve seen it confuse people before. This is an older recipe (updated) so maybe that got missed–going in to update now.

  2. Tad Blake-Weber

    Super excited to try this pear tart recipe!

    Questions: Is “light olive oil” just what it’s called? I haven’t noticed before in the supermarket.

    Thank you and sincerely,
    tad blake-weber

    1. Inger Post author

      You might see something called light olive oil, refined olive oil or pure olive oil. What you need to avoid is extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil. These will have a lot of the distinctive olive oil flavor and that will detract from the tart flavor. If you don’t want to buy another oil you can substitute canola oil or another oil that doesn’t have a lot of flavor.

    1. Inger Post author

      As long as you place the crust into an 11-inch tart pan I think it should work (although I’ve never tried this). You will almost certainly need to shield the edges of the crust once it has browned to keep them from burning. A standard commercial crust can be rolled out more so that it fits an 11-inch tart pan–this I do regularly! Or you could make a graham or other cookie crumb crust as well.

  3. Patricia Kephart

    Huge success with the filling. Disappointed with the pastry. Used the only tart pan I had which was 9″ and it wasn’t as thin as the piece in your photo shows. Also, I wonder if you could expand on “light” olive oil. Maybe mine was not light. That flavor and the whole wheat flour are new to my pastry palette.

    1. Inger Post author

      That’s a great idea to discuss the different types of olive oil–I’ll put that in the queue. Even people who do olive oil regularly may not be used to baking with it. If your crust tasted like olive oil, it probably wasn’t light, since light olive oil is more neutral like canola oil. Once I used extra virgin olive oil when it was all I had and didn’t love that myself.

      The crust is designed to be both super easy and healthy, so there is a little flavor compromise compared to a flaky buttery crust or a pale sweet crust. But I think that people who eat whole wheat regularly will probably not be bothered by it–I know my kids will gobble down things made with whole wheat that my nieces pick at. If you used a 9 inch pan, the extra thickness would intensify this, since the filling isn’t all that thick to overcome it.

      If you do want to move toward more use of whole wheat in the future, a good way to start is by using white whole wheat, which has all the nutrition but a less intense flavor (and I may switch this recipe to that–it dates back many years to when it wasn’t readily available) or by using a combination of all purpose flour and whole wheat. And of course you could always use the filling with your own favorite crust. I even use the filling (cut down in size) on puff pasty as a breakfast danish.

    1. Inger Post author

      This refers to the working time, not the baking time, which adds 45 minutes. As I explain in the first paragraph, it was called this in the original recipe, though it took me 15 minutes my first try. It’s an elegant pie with minimal effort so I hope entices new bakers to give it a try.

      1. Pam

        I followed your instructions to the T, except for the sugar which I reduced slightly and used brown sugar instead of white. The prep time was quick enough, but peeling and cutting the pears took up more of my time- especially since I was gobbling down the rough skinned peels!!
        Delicious results! Topped with Greek yogurt and a thin drizzle of honey!!!

        1. Inger Post author

          So glad you enjoyed this! And glad to know this works with brown sugar too. I don’t peel my pears, so that saves me some time, though I think I’d enjoy eating them if I did–cook’s reward! You’re an inspiration topping with Greek yogurt!

  4. Diane M Matousek

    Anyone try canned pears? Assume extended draining needed but they’re ripe and already peeled! Curious if comments?

    1. Inger Post author

      I did have a reader mention using canned pears with excellent results. I think you’d need to drain them well first. I haven’t tried it myself but I just canned come pears and may try it this winter. I’ll report back!

  5. Kasia

    Hello! Is there a “print” button on this page somewhere? I’d like to save it by printing, but I can’t print several pages.

    1. Inger Post author

      Hi Kasia–

      Since this is one of my older recipes, there isn’t a button, since I just used all text back then. You can always do a Control P on a PC, or Command P on a Mac which will let you print the whole post. I’ll try to get in set up with a print button, though, then email you. Thanks for alerting me that people might be looking for this.

  6. Cynthia Thoenen

    My first Pear Tart and it came out beautifully! I couldn’t believe how easy it was. My pears were ripe and juicy and the crumb topping made a delicious sweet sauce when mixed with the juice from the pears! I’m in love with this recipe. I made it exactly like the recipe except I didn’t have a tart pan so I used a springform pan!

  7. Milena

    This was delicious as per my guests, who ate it. My kids are vegan or vegetarian and it was a big success. I made two for 17 minutes, not counting the time to cut the pears. I’m making it again today!
    P. S. I am a carnivore, so I haven’t tried it myself

    1. Inger Post author

      I eat meat and I eat this Milena! So I think you should go for it and have a piece of today’s tart! Thanks for sharing the feedback!

    1. Inger Post author

      I think they might if you drained them very well first. I would put them in a strainer or colander sprinkle with a little sugar then let them sit for an hour to extract somoe moisture. Let me know how it goes if you get a chance. Good luck!

  8. mim

    The topping did not melt nicely – I don’t know what I did wrong, but it took much more than 305-45 minutes.. and it just burned on the top and nothing close to the picture

    1. Inger Post author

      For this to work, the fruit needs to be pretty juicy, which isn’t usually a problem with pears–and I have used peaches as well. But the one time I tried apples, the topping turned dry and crunchy. I took it out in at the right time then so didn’t have a problem with burning, but I wasn’t happy with the results. It would seem that if your pears were not fully ripe, it might be a problem being too dry. I assume you tried cooking longer in the hopes the sugar would melt, but that would probably make it dry out worse. Less likely causes could be your oven running warm, or not being up to temp wen you put it in. Feel free to write back to discuss more if you want to try again.

  9. June Pegram

    I made this tonight with some adjustments. It was Fabulous!!! I used pear and peaches, 1/2 cup veg oil (no olive oil), 1 full Tsp of vanilla and milk (no water). Oh and I made it in a glass pie plate with no issue. Yum Yum Yummy!

    1. Inger Post author

      I am so glad you enjoyed this–and thanks so much for letting me know. I am always amazed at how the fruit “juices out” to make a lovely glaze (with no work on my part 😉 )

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    1. Inger Wilkerson

      You know the oil in the crust definitely gives it a different flavor, but I liked it enough to have made it a few times already (the speed of preparation doesn’t hurt either). I may experiment with a butter based crust too–if so I’ll post in the future.

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      The original blogger did it in 10 minutes–and I am definitely going to try to hit that goal when I make it again. My first time took 15. One thing that I have been doing in recipes is mixing ingredients that need to go to a “crumb” texture by hand. I think this is pretty efficient and easier than a pastry blender for a relative novice.

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I was going to see if I could get it down to 10 minutes the second time I made it. But since I was taking pictures for the blog then, it took longer : ( But I’ll definitely be trying again!

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