Holiday Dessert Bake-off: Marla Bailey’s Free-form Pear and Almond Tart |

Holiday Dessert Bake-off: Marla Bailey’s Free-form Pear and Almond Tart

Marla Bailey's Pear and Almond Freeform Tart

Marla Bailey’s Free-form Pear and Almond Tart


Tart Crust:

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)

½ teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoon sugar

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

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1 large egg, separated

3 tablespoons ice water

Turbinado sugar


2 pounds firm but ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced

½ cup almond paste

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for dusting)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add cold butter and pulse several times until butter is cut into small pieces with a sandy, consistent texture. Add the egg yolk (reserve egg white for later) and ice water, then pulse until dough just starts to come together. Add more water if dough appears overly dry. Do not over-process.

Dump onto lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes, or refrigerate until needed (at least 30 minutes).

Make filling: Wipe out the food processor. Combine the almond paste, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cinnamon into the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl and gently toss with the pears until evenly coated.

Layout a piece of parchment paper on a large flat cookie sheet and lightly dust with flour. Place the tart dough in the center of the parchment and dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a ¼-inch thick round, dusting top and pin with flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Spoon pear filling evenly onto the round, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge of the dough. Using a pastry scraper or spatula, carefully fold the edges of the dough over onto the filling, slightly crimping the folds to hold in place, until you've gone around the entire circumference.

Brush the egg white over the crust and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of filling.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden.

Pull parchment onto a baking rack and let cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve with fresh whipped cream.