Browned Butter Pear and Walnut Tarts – two ways

I love the breathing in the brisk air while admiring the beautiful colours of autumn. Tis the season of pear harvest at our house. My parents planted an Asian pear tree in the yard when I was a child and now we get to enjoy its bountiful harvest every fall. There are usually so many that we need to give them away to family and friends. This year, I’ve even canned them in syrup and made them into a fruit butter. Asian pears have a high water content, a distinct fruity, fragrant flavour and its texture is crunchy and grainy. They are great for eating fresh, and make excellent desserts. This time, I experimented tarts with a browned butter walnut filling with a spiced streusel topping with crystallized ginger. I liked the fall flavours of this tart, it is also light and fruity, great as a dessert after dinner. The browned butter flavour works very will the the pears and walnuts. This recipe would work great with any kind of apples or pears, just be sure to choose a firm and ripened fruit. For more textures, top it with the spiced streusel topping and dust with icing sugar just before serving. For a simpler and rustic version, simply omit the streusel and ginger topping and serve with some whipped cream!

Pear Tart with Streusel


Browned Butter Pear and Walnut Streusel Tarts

Serving Size: 12 - 3" inch round tarts OR 8" to 10" inch round


    Sugar Crust
  • 90g sugar
  • 180g butter - cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 270g cake and pastry flour, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Browned Butter Walnut Filling
  • 40g ground walnuts
  • 40g all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 95g golden sugar
  • 40g whole milk
  • 40g whipping cream
  • 85g browned butter, warm
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Spiced Walnut Streusel - Dressed version
  • 60g all purpose flour
  • 60g ground walnuts
  • 60g sugar
  • 60g butter - cold, cut in to small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Assembly
  • pears - peeled, and sliced to about 1/4" thick
  • OPTIONAL : crystallized ginger - cut into small cubes
  • OPTIONAL: whipped cream for rustic version


    Sugar Crust
  1. Place cold butter in a mixing bowl with the sugar, with a paddle attachment on low speed, mix until the butter becomes smooth.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Add in sieved flour, mix on low speed just enough so the dough is no longer dry, make sure all ingredients has been evenly distributed.
  4. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight for a more even baking colour.
  5. Before rolling, let dough sit out for about 10-15 minutes to soften. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 3-4mm thick, turning the dough after each roll to prevent sticking, flour as needed.
  6. Measure the size of your tart pan/ring, cut out the shapes you need.
  7. If the dough is too warm, place it back in the fridge to chill, otherwise you can start lining the pan/ring. When lining, be sure to get into the edges on the bottom, flush the dough right up to the top of the pan, trim off excess.
  8. Chill lined pan/ring. Pierce the bottoms of the tart with a fork before baking, or blind bake them (yields nicer looking shells - optional). Bake at 325 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Blind baking (see photos): Line chilled tart pan/rings with parchment, fill with beans or rice, up to the top. Bake until edges start to brown, take out and remove paper, beans and take out from the pans/rings, return to oven to bake to golden brown.
  10. Remove shells from pans/ring, let cool until ready to use.
  11. Browned Butter Filling
    - Browning Butter
  12. Take about 1/2 cup of butter and place in a small saucepan, heat butter on low medium heat until mixture browns to a cinnamon colour, swirling the pan every couple of minutes. Strain to get rid of browned milk solids, cool until ready to use.
  13. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and sugar until it becomes pale. Add milk,whipping cream, and egg to incorporate.
  14. Add flour, ground walnuts and salt to the mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are absorbed.
  15. Lastly, slowly add warmed browned butter while whisking to incorporate. Chill until ready use.
  16. Spiced Walnut Streusel
  17. Combine all ingredients with the mixer or with your hands. Break up into small pieces and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 325 F for 15-20 minutes. Cool until ready to use.
  18. Assembly
  19. Have the tart shells ready and placed on a cookie sheet, spoon or pour browned butter filling into each tart shell to about 2/3 full.
  20. Arrange pears in the filling.
  21. Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes, until the top has turned golden and the filling is no longer runny.
  22. Cool until ready to serve.
  23. Version 1 - Dressed
  24. Break up streusel and place on the tarts, dust lightly with icing sugar. If desired, place crystallized ginger cubes on top.
  25. Version 2 - Rustic
  26. Serve as is or with some whipped cream.

Browned Butter Pear Walnut Tart

I like both the dressed up and rustic version. For an elegant dinner, you can make the dressed version as it has more layers of flavour and textures. For a casual dessert or if you are pressed for time, the rustic is just as delicious. Which version are you going to try?

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