I wanted a simple dessert.  The fresh pasta for the lasagne would take quite a bit of my time to make and so I wanted something simple.   Simple and yet elegant.   Store-bought gelato with almond cookies crossed my mind but I wanted to make something homemade, something with fruits.  I toyed with the idea of making zabaglione and serving it over sliced peaches in dainty glass cups but I had not made zabaglione before and I didn’t have enough time to experiment.  I turned to Marcella Hazan once again and found the perfect, simple dessert.

“This tender, fruity cake has been described as being so simple that only an active campaign of sabotage could ruin it,” she writes.

I already felt incredibly invincible after I finally learned how to make fresh pasta but in the remote case of an active campaign of sabotage, it was comforting to be assured that this dessert would not fail.  And it certainly did not.

The tart is not at all rich and buttery.  Its sweetness is subtle, which I loved.  The sweet pockets of fruit strewn throughout makes it elegant and refined.  It is a light and fruity dessert that is perfect after a rich and savory meal.  And it holds up wonderfully well for breakfast the following morning.

A Farm Wife's Fresh Peach Tart

Farm Wife’s Fresh Pear Tart Recipe
Recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk,
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 pounds fresh pears
butter for greasing the pan and dotting the cake
1/2 cup dry, unflavored bread crumbs
1 dozen cloves, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Add the sugar and a tiny pinch of salt, and continue to beat. Add the flour, mixing it in thoroughly to produce a compact cake batter.

Peel the pears, cut them lengthwise in two, scoop out the seeds and core, then cut them into thin slices about 1 inch wide, Add them to the batter in the bowl, distributing them evenly.

Smear a 9-inch cake pan generously with butter, sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, then turn the pan over and give it a sharp rap against the counter to shake loose excess crumbs.

Put the batter into the pan, leveling it off with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Make numerous small hollows on top with a fingertip and fill them with little bits of butter. Stud with the optional cloves, distributing them at random, but apart. Place the pan in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the top has become lightly colored.

While it is still lukewarm, carefully loosen the tart from the bottom of the pan, lift it with spatulas, and transfer to a platter. It is very nice served while still warm, or at room temperature.

Cooking Notes

1.  I made the tart with peaches instead of pears — my fitting tribute to summer.  But when using pears, Marcella Hazan recommends using Bosc or Anjou and not Bartlett.

2. Serve this fruity tart with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.  Simply delicious.

Freshly Whipped Cream Recipe
Recipe by Irma Rombauer from the Joy of Cooking

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

Beat the whipped cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters at high or medium-high speed until thickened.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat to the desired consistency.

  • Trissa

    I love simple desserts that still manage to get that WOW factor! This is one of them.

  • http://www.riceandwheat.com riceandwheat

    This looks so good, but more importantly, so easy to make, Jun! I love that the fruit just goes in with the batter instead of having to be carefully laid out on top. I can’t wait to go buy some pears and try this out. Or wait, I have peaches in the house… maybe I should also celebrate the end of summer, huh? :)

  • http://crumpetsandcakes.blogspot.com/ M.

    I love the simplicity of this recipe,
    beautiful fall dessert :)

  • http://www.100miles.com/ Charles G Thompson

    One can never go wrong with Marcella! Your tart looks elegantly simple. Nicely done!

  • http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com Lisa

    What a delicious looking tart. I’ll remember this the next time I buy some pears.

  • HoneyBadger

    Looks tasty…what size pan did you use?

  • http://www.spectacularlydelicious.com Sean

    May I have some please?

  • http://theurbanbaker.blogspot.com the urban baker

    this looks amazing. i heart Marcella! i have been reading her books for 25 years and they never go out of style! your photos are beautiful!!!

  • Alison

    HoneyBadger– in the book, it calls for a 9 inch round cake pan.

  • http://www.junbelen.com Jun Belen

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful notes. And thanks to Alison for mentioning about the fact that the recipe calls for a 9-inch round cake pan. Thank you for pointing that out!! This is what I love most about blogs — the conversations that keep you in check! Thanks again.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    I love desserts like this that really let the fruit shine.

  • Adrienne

    do you think i could make this with apples? it’s fall!

  • http://www.junbelen.com Jun Belen

    Hello Adrienne,
    I think apples will be lovely!! Jonathan, Jonagold and Pippin would be good choices, I think, and I’d stay away from Gala, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples because they tend to become too mealy.
    Let me know how it goes!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pandamnda Amanda Robinson

    just got through baking this! it looks and smells wonderful! can’t wait til it’s cool enough to plate and serve. thank you for the recipe!

  • Trish Buzzone

    My mother in-law has a tradition of sending us Harry and David pears and we often receive more
    H & D pears from other family and friends. We love the pears! Sometimes when we have an abundance of them I will make this dessert so that we can still enjoy the flavor of the pears before they turn. The farm wife’s tart is full of flavor and not too heavy. A small dollop of amaretto infused whipped cream on top is quite lovely. I just put this in the oven to bake…looking forward to a warm slice in about an hour… Better yet with the new Weight Watchers Points Plus Program I can have a slice without the guilt or the extra pounds. Happy New Year!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Trish.  The tart is great! Light and not too sweet.  It definitely lets the fruit shine.  Happy New Year to you, too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692759047 Fiona Penfold

    Delightful! Thank you very much. Wonderful recipe. I make it with half pears and apples. So tasty.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.  Pears and apples make a great pair for the cake!