What's for Dessert? ...Pear Tart with Marsala-Cinnamon Syllabub

Pear is one of my favorite fruit. I loooove the subtle sweetness and fleshy texture of baked pears, especially when they are the key ingredient in a cake, a tart, or any dessert. Last weekend, I went to my local market and the abundance of pear of all kinds, reminded me of this recipe that I wanted to try last fall, but it never happened- Pear Tart with Marsala-Cinnamon Cream.  Good thing, pears are still in season, and even though it is common to find pears all year round, they tend to be juicier and sweeter, during the fall and winter.

I finally made the tart and OMG!! it was fantastic. Easy to make, this recipe may take some time to get to the final product, but it works, it looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and you don't need to be a pastry chef to make it.

So, here is my adaptation of the original recipe that I found in "Tarts", a book from the "Love Food" collection, by Parragon Books... Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, making it and tasting it!!


Pie Dough
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp confectioners' sugar
cold water

3 firm pears, peeled, cored, and halved
1 large strip lemon rind
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup water
12 tbsp. butter
3 eggs
2 cups finely ground almonds (not powder, but small chunks)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Marsala-Cinnamon Cream
1/2 cup Marsala wine
10 tbsp. superfine sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup heavy cream

  • Lightly grease a 9-inch loose-bottom, fluted tart pan. Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Tip the mixture into a large bowl, stir in the sugar, and add one or two tablespoons of cold water, just enough to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a floured counter and roll out the dough 3 inches larger than the pan. Carefully lift the dough into the pan and press to fit. (If this step becomes difficult, do what I did. Press the dough inside of the pan with your fingers until it is all covered with a thin and uniform layer). Roll the rolling pin over the pan to neaten the edges and trim the excess dough. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the tart shell with dried beans,  and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the refrigerator and bake blind for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then remove the beans and paper. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Put the pears, lemon rind, Marsala, 2tbps of the sugar and the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes, or until pears are tender. Leave in the liquid to cool. Slice the pears lengthwise, not too thin, so the tart gets enough of the pear flavor.
  • Melt 11 tbsp. of the butter. Beat the remaining sugar with the eggs and stir in the melted butter, then the almonds and flour. Pour the almond mixture into the pastry shell and arrange the pear slices in a cartwheel pattern on top. Make sure the pear covers the top completely, otherwise the mixture will rise through when baking it. Melt the remaining butter and brush it over the pears. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the Marsala, sugar, and cinnamon stick for the syllabub (cream) in a pan and let simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and let cool.
  • When you are ready to serve, make the cream. Put the cooled Marsala in a bowl and gradually whip in the cream with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Slice the tart and spoon a spoonful of cream on each slice.

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