Years ago, when I was beginning my career as a food writer and teacher, I loved to prepare Julia Child’s baked pear gratin with a macaroon crust from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I. The recipe was simplicity itself. Pears were sliced, placed in a baking dish, tossed with apricot jam and white wine, and then baked with a topping of crushed cookies and bits of butter.
Last week, as I was contemplating different fillings for an autumn tart, I remembered that dish and knew that those pears would be delectable baked in a pastry crust. I added seasonings of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves to the fruit, and to keep things really easy, used purchased puff pastry for the tart shell. When done, this dessert boasts a golden, flakey crust and a filling of tender, juicy pears infused with aromatic spices.