For the pears:
3 to 4 medium, very ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
For the candied pecan paste:
1 cup ground candied pecans (recipe below)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 large egg
For the pastry:
1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust, at room temperature (basic recipe below)
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
To make the Candied Pecan Paste: Put the pecans, butter, sugar, flour, cornstarch and egg in a food processor (or Vitamix) and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape mixture into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the pecan paste on the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust.
Slide a spatula under half of a pre-sliced pear, then gently slide the fruit on top of the paste. Continue with the rest of the pear halves or until the tart is full of pears. Press down on the top of the pears to fan them.
Put the tart on a lined baking sheet, place the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50 minutes, or until the pecan paste puffs up around the pears. Remove the tart and cool on a wire rack.
Optional: Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar just before serving
Homemade Pastry Dough
The secret to a flaky pie crust is very cold butter. Cut the butter into cubes and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use organic whenever possible)
1 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
7 Tbs. very cold butter, cut into small pieces
7 Tbs. very cold shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup ice water
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening.
With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles pea-size pieces.
Using a fork, quickly stir in 1/2 cup ice water. Turn dough onto a clean, cool surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together (about 10 times). Divide dough in half and shape each half into a 6″ disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
These sweet, crunchy nuts make a great snack – or try sprinkling them on everything from cereal, waffles and pancakes to salads and desserts.
2 egg whites
2 Tbs. water
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 250°F.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and water. Add pecans and stir to coat. Whisk together the sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over the pecans and stir so they’re all coated evenly.
Spread pecans on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.