This is a sponsored conversation with Sprouts. All opinions are my own.
This Spiced Vanilla Pear Tartlet with Almond Whipped Cream is a delicious and easy Fall dessert, that is a bit unexpected but worthy of a spot on your holiday menu. The filling is comprised of a creamy spiced vanilla pudding paired with sweetly flavored pears, topped with slightly candied pecans, and then lastly, a bowl of the most indulgent almond whipped cream included on the side.
Let’s talk briefly about what makes this a tartlet and not a pie, because I’m betting someone will think “I don’t have tart pan, can I make it in a pie pan?”
The main difference is that tarts only have a bottom crust, while a pie can and often will have a double crust. But not always, as is with a pecan pie. The level of crust on the sides also differs slightly between a tart and pie. Tarts tend to have higher sides (especially if baking in a tart pan with a removable bottom), whereas pie pans are more shallow. The answer is yes, though. You can make a tart in a pie pan, just don’t top it with crust.
If you’re needing something to do with the extra pie crust once you’ve pulled out all your spices, make these Homemade Spiced Pear Pop Tarts.
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the filling that makes up this most glorious Spiced Vanilla Pear Tart.
The creamy spiced pudding is a deviation from my usual fillings, but I wanted something that would highlight the pears and not just a pear substitute for a typical, say, apple type recipe. The use of boxed vanilla pudding keeps things super easy, and the addition of the spices elevates it so that you’re not just eating vanilla pudding…with pears thrown in.
And just as finding the right apple for a certain type of recipe is important, finding the right pear is also of utmost importance. Just like apples, there are varieties of pears that work best depending on what you’re creating. I find that Sprouts (http://sprouts.com/) has the best selection of fresh fruit, and often carries varieties you won’t find elsewhere.
For example, the pears I chose for this recipe are the Comice pears. The Comice pear is known for its buttery and sweet flavor notes and its fragile, but silky flesh.
- 1 package (14 oz) ready-made pie crust, or homemade
- For the Filing:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 half and half
- 1 package (4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 4 medium-sized Comice pears
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
- For the Almond Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
Press pie crust firmly and up the sides of a 10-inch tart baking pan or a 9 inch pie plate. Line crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and add pie weight or dried beans. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for another 6 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely while you prepare the filling.
Peel, core and chop 3 medium-sized Comice pears, set aside.
Combine 1 cup sour cream and 3/4 cup half and half in a large bowl; beat until smooth.
Whisk in pudding mix. Add 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, continuing to beat. Gently fold in the chopped pears.
Pour the pudding mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover; refrigerate several hours (at least 3) or overnight.
Just before serving, preheat broiler. Peel the final pear, and cut into thin slices. Arrange in a pattern in the center of the pudding mixture.
Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. cloves in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over pears. Rim the edges of the tart with the 1/3 cup of chopped pecans. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or just until the sugar is
melted and begins to crystalize, watching carefully not to burn the sugar.
Prepare the whipped topping:
Add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract and 1 Tbsp confectioners sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low. Gradually increase the speed until soft peaks begin to form.
Serve the pear tart immediately with a
dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint, if desired.
TIP: To easily peel pears, submerge the pears in a large pot of boiling water for about 10-15 seconds then place into a large bowl of ice cold water. Using your fingers, gently rub the pear skin from each pear.
Combined with the spiced vanilla filling, the sweetness of the pears made for the most incredible tart. But if baking is not on your agenda, the Comice pears also pair well on a cheese tray with Blue or Brie due to its softness.
Regardless of what type of pears you decide to enjoy, follow these suggestions for choosing the very best pears:
- Gently press your thumb at the neck to test for ripeness: the more give you feel, the riper the pear is.
- Store at room temperature until they reach optimal ripeness, then refrigerate.
Adorned with sliced pear halves with a sprig of mint for its leaf, this tartlet is as beautiful as it is delicious.