When I was younger, I had a friend who had three beautiful pear trees growing in her backyard. At the end of the summer, when the trees would begin to drop their fruit, I would go over to her house and eat as many pears as I could. They were so sweet and delicate, just the way a pear should be. Her mother spent weeks in the kitchen baking so many pear-themed desserts and the rest of the pears would get canned into glass jars and stored in the cold cellar during the winter. I have such fond memories of those sweet, delicate pears. Nowadays, I don’t have the luxury of picking ripe pears from my best friend’s pear tree, but whenever they are in season, I try to buy and eat as many pears as I can (and bake my favorite Vegan Pear Tart), because you really can’t beat a perfectly ripe in-season pear.
I am fortunate that my kids also love pears. And really, who wouldn’t with their sweet and floral taste, and soft and delicate texture. We love to enjoy them on their own, sliced thinly, but when I get the chance, I also like to bake them into a tart. I love all the pears, but I think d’Anjou pears are the best for baking. The Stemilt D’Anjou pears are so sweet and delicate and hold their shape in baked goods, which makes them a perfect fit for a tart.
This pear tart is vegan, but you’d never be able to tell. I use a mix of vegetable oil and shortening or in the tart shell, which gives it a nice crisp texture. The filling is a simple mixture of pears, sugar, flour, and coconut oil. It’s sweet and tender and would make the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving dessert lineup.
This Vegan Pear Tart is sweet and tender and would make the perfect addition to any dessert lineup.
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Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Combine the vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, water, granulated sugar, and salt in an ovenproof bowl. Place the bowl into the oven and heat for 10 minutes until all of the ingredients have melted. Be careful when removing the bowl from the oven. The oil will sputter and pop.
Remove the bowl from the oven and stir in the flour until you have a ball.
Let the dough cool until you are able to touch it.
Turn the oven up to 425ºF.
When the dough is cool, press it into an 8” tart pan. Make sure to press the dough flat to the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
Place the tart shell into the freezer for 10 minutes.
While the tart is freezing, peel and core the pears. Cut the pears into thin slices.
In a small bowl, combine a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tbsp of flour, and 2 tbsp of coconut oil.
Remove the tart shell from the freezer.
Gently align the pears in the tart shell in a decorative manner. You can get really creative during this process.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture on top. Place the tart into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. You can put a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any pear juices that may bubble over.
The tart is done when the pears are soft, the tart shell light brown and crisp, and the juices are bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let cool. This will allow the juices to get thicken. Serve.
The tart can be stored in the fridge for a week, but it’s best eaten within a few days.
Heather lives in Seattle, where she works as a registered dietitian, food photographer, and recipe developer. She is also the founder of Flourishing Foodie, a food blog that focuses on quick, easy, and delicious recipes using fresh local ingredients. Heather enjoys creating a variety of recipes from pastries, cakes, and cookies, to salads, soups, and pasta, which she will be sharing as a contributor to the Stem blog. Heather’s favorite Stemilt fruit is the yellow peach, juicy and sweet.