Spicy Pear Tart

Avoca Handweavers is one of Ireland's most popular places to shop for Irish crafts, clothing, and food. With locations in the country's most popular tourist destinations (Wicklow, the Ring of Kerry, Bunratty), you might expect the food at these places to be typical roaside fare. Not so. This luscious pear-filled, pear-topped tart with crunchy caramel crust is one of the desserts you might find.

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4  pears, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2  eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
 whipped cream for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Wrap a 10-inch round springform pan in 2 layers of aluminum foil to prevent leaking. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the butter and sugar caramelize. Pour the caramel into the prepared springform pan. Set aside.

Using the large holes of a box grater, shred one of the pears. Slice the remaining pears. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and oil together. Stir in the shredded pear. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Pour over the caramel base. Arrange the sliced pears on top in a concentric circle, starting from the center. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the base bubbles and the pears are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the pan. Remove the sides of the pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream, if you wish.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 80 min

Servings: serves 8 to 10

Recipe By: Margaret M. Johnson

From:  The New Irish Table: 70 Contemporary Recipes
Used with permission of Chronicle Books