Rustic pear tart: A thing you can make without a pie plate.

We’re doing our best to save money, and one of our great ideas was that we would make our own wine. Rather fortuitously, at the same time we had the idea, my parents’ friends, John and Loretta, were cleaning out their basement and purging all the stuff they call Crap. Awesome score for us, and now we have almost 30 bottles of “wine.” I put it in quotations because it’s not good.

But it’s not bad.

Nick and his little helper prep the bottles.
Nick and his little helper wash the bottles.
The dress code for bottling night was brown shirts and hats.
The dress code for bottling night was brown shirts and hats.

We went to Nick’s sister’s and brother-in-law’s place last night to bottle our wine – they live in a house with a basement, so we made our wine there – and I brought pie. You know what’s weird? I don’t own a pie plate. I can’t really explain the oversight, but in the interest of saving money, which we have to do, I’m not going to buy one. You can make pie without a pie plate, and it looks rustic and homey, like you’re better than pie plates, like you’re crazy and clever and do what you want. And I think that comes out in the end result, as the pie is tasty and badass.

Rustic pear tart

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 5 tbsp. ice water
  • 1 lb. firm-fleshed pears, whatever you’ve got (four or five large)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split

Make your dough. Combine flour and salt, and drop each cube of butter in, squishing them between your fingers. The end result before you add the water should be a crumby mixture with larger chunks, some as large as kidney beans or peas. Stir in water, a bit at a time, to form the dough – you may not need all of the water … you want the dough to be just moist enough to hold together. Press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until pears are done.

In a large pot, dissolve sugar in water and brandy. Drop in vanilla bean, and bring to a light boil. This is inspired by David Lebowitz’s recipe for poached pears, and is, in fact, very similar.

Stir in the pears, and bring back to a boil, boiling gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in the pot, 30 minutes.

Pears!Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick. Roll the flat dough around the rolling pin, and then unroll onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Lay the pear slices in a circle in the middle of the dough stacking up to two inches high, leaving about an inch and a half border – you’ll want to be able to fold the dough over the pears all rustic-like.

SDC12123Fold the dough over the pears. Optionally, you can paint the edges of the crust with a little egg and water – that’ll make it golden and lovely. But I’m lazy and forgot. Bake in a 375°F oven for 40 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.


Pie, sliced.

4 thoughts on “Rustic pear tart: A thing you can make without a pie plate.

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