More About This Recipe
This impressive tart is surprisingly easy to make—and spares you the pastry shop sticker shock.
Have you ever stood in front of a pastry shop or bakery case, drooling over the beautiful fruit-topped tarts? Wanting to buy one for that special date night meal or dinner party, but not wanting to pay the price? They are expensive desserts.
So, why not make one yourself? I know, they can be time consuming, so I’ve created a shortcut for you and used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix to create the crust. The soft, sweet crust pairs perfectly with the decadently rich pastry cream filling and delicate pear slices.
This dessert is just as pretty and tasty as the expensive ones in the pastry shop, but can be made at a fraction of the cost.
You’ll start by making the sugar cookie dough. You’ll only need to use half to make your tart crust, so you can save the rest for another dessert (or simply scoop and bake some cookies to snack on!).
Be sure to spray your tart pan well with baking spray before pressing the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Pop the cookie in the oven and bake it until beautifully golden brown.
Now to make the decadently creamy filling for your tart. It’s a bit fussy, but SO worth the effort.
Be sure to measure out all of your ingredients before you begin—you won’t have time to do it while the pastry cream is cooking.
You’ll start by heating the half-and-half, sugar and salt in a saucepan. While that’s coming to a simmer, whisk the eggs, then add the sugar, followed by the corn starch.
Slowly drizzle the hot liquid into the eggs, whisking constantly. If you add the liquid too quickly, you’ll scramble the eggs and that’s no fun.
Now the warm liquid goes back into the saucepan to heat up again.
Stir it continuously with a heatproof rubber spatula until you see a few big bubbles pop at the surface. This will happen quickly and the mixture will become very thick and glossy. Immediately remove the mixture from heat.
If by chance the mixture gets lumpy, you can salvage it by pressing it through a fine mesh sieve once or twice.
Once it’s smooth, stir in the cold butter and vanilla.
If you use vanilla bean paste, your pastry cream will have lovely little flecks of vanilla throughout and a very vibrant vanilla flavor. I highly recommend it.
Now, transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and pop it in the fridge. This will prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the pastry cream.
While the pastry cream is chilling, you can get your crust ready. To keep the cookie from getting soggy, it’s best to brush some jam over top. But jam is a bit too thick to spread straight from the jar, so pop it in the microwave for a bit first to thin it out.
You’ll also want to remove any chunks of fruit by pressing the warm jam through a fine mesh sieve.
Then brush about a tablespoon of the thinned jam over top of the crust and set the crust aside to dry. Reserve about another tablespoon to brush over top of the finished tart. The rest of the jam will get cooked with the pears.
Slice the pears into pretty long strips, with or without the peel.
Then toss them into a hot skillet with butter, sugar, and the jam.
Let the fruit soak up the sweet flavors. Depending on how you’d like your tart to look, you can cook just until softened, or continue cooking to caramelize the fruit. Sprinkle on some lemon juice and toss to coat just before pulling the pears out of the skillet. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pears, and discard the liquid.
Pop the pears into the fridge to chill out a bit before decorating your tart.
When the tart has set and the pears are chilled then you can arrange the slices in a pretty pattern on top of the pastry cream.
Then warm up the rest of your jam and brush it over the top of the pears to give them a nice shine.
Cut into 12 slices and enjoy a piece while you soak up the compliments!