Flaky Pear Dessert Tart (Vegan)
This easy pear dessert tart is the perfect fall dessert for company – even for novice bakers! This simple French pear tart is similar to a galette, so there is no custard to fuss over. Just 8 ingredients, the dough comes together in a food processor in about 5 minutes! The combination of a rustic, light and flaky whole grain pastry and just sweet enough roasted pears is absolute perfection.
I bake, but I am not a capital B “Baker”. I have never made a pie crust. Croissants? Forget it! So I get really excited when I discover a recipe that’s so simple you don’t need to be a pastry chef to make it perfect. So this year, when I found myself with 5 pounds of figs to use up quick, I discovered Ina Garten’s French Fig Tart recipe which is similar to a galette, but you don’t fold over the edges.
It was so good – and so easy – that I ended up making it THREE TIMES in a week!
I knew I had a keeper…but I also messed with it, as I always do, so I figured I would pop my adaptation here on the blog so you could delight in making this impressive tart and feel like a hero for making a “fancy” dessert. I added whole grain rye flour – which you might think was the dietitian in me wanting whole grains – but honestly, after decades of eating a more whole food-focused diet, I prefer the rich flavours of whole grains in most plant-based recipes.
Rye is one of my favourite whole grains (if you haven’t tried the Raspberry Chocolate Rye Muffins in Good For Your Gut Cookbook I highly recommend it!) but it’s notoriously hard to work with as it doesn’t have a lot of structure. So I just substituted half the all purpose flour for rye, and it was enough to add a better depth of flavour. I also substituted brown sugar for white sugar for a bolder flavour, so you need less sugar overall!
What you’ll need to make this easy pear dessert tart:
When you taste this French pear tart, you’ll be so impressed with how delicious it is, especially because all you had to do was blitz the dough in the food processor for like 5 minutes. You don’t even have to tell anyone this is vegan because they’ll never know! So gather up these 8 simple ingredients, throw on a little kitchen music and get baking!
- Whole Grain Rye Flour: my favourite flours come from Flourist, which ships across North American, but Anita’s and King Arthur great too and widely available
- All Purpose Flour
- Vegan Baking Sticks: I always use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for baking because they outperform most vegan butters for holding texture
- Cane Sugar...this is just regular, unbleached ‘white’ sugar
- Brown Sugar: use regular/dark brown sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Pears: you want them ripe, but still a bit firm, not mushy so they slice well
How to make this French-style pear dessert tart
This easy pear tart could not be simpler, just follow these 4 simple steps. No special tart pan. Almost zero kneading. No pre-cooking the pears or making a glaze or custard. All you need is a few minutes of hands on time and some patience while the dough chills (twice!).
- Pulse the sugar, flour and salt in a food processor until the butter is pea-sized. Then drizzle in the water with the motor running until it just comes together.
- Flour a board and tip out dough and knead just a few times into a flat disk of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
- Place disk on floured surface and roll out to roughly a 10 x 14 inch rectangle…it doesn’t have to be perfect! Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 more minutes while you slice the pears and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Layer the pear slices on the chilled dough, sprinkle with brown sugar and remaining cubed vegan butter. Bake 50 – 65 minutes until golden brown at edges and fruit looks all caramelized and golden. Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing!
FAQ: Which kind of pears are best for baking?
For this easy pear tart, use Bosc or Anjou pears. You want a ripe, yet still slightly firm pear so it slices well and holds its shape in the tart. You could also use Bartlett but they may turn a bit mushy. You’ll probably need a couple of days to ripen pears once you get them home from the store.
Why pears are so good for you
I am not sure why pears don’t get as much good press as apples when they are just as widely available and are packed with nutrition benefits too!
- Pears are a high fiber food, as a medium pear has about 5 grams of fibre. Fibre is critical for regulating digestion, supporting a healthy gut microbiome as well promoting heart health and appropriate inflammatory responses.
- Pears are also a lower glycemic fruit, so they can be helpful for people trying to manage blood sugars.
- Pears are rich in heart healthy potassium, as well as containing trace amounts of important minerals like energizing copper, bone-building calcium, blood-boosting iron and immune-supporting zinc.
- The peel of a pear is also concentrated in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals like lutein and zeaxanthin, which boost eyesight. I rarely peel thin-skinned fruit + veg!
Pear Dessert Tart Tips, Tricks + Substitutions
- You could easily substitute apples for this recipe if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Summer fruit ideas: halved figs, as in the original recipe, or halved apricots or plums.
- For pastry, you always want to use cold butter! If it’s room temperature, pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes to firm it up.
- Don’t have rye flour on hand? Just use 2 cups all purpose, like the original recipe did.
- You can also use all cane sugar or all brown sugar in the recipe with no issue.
- This tart makes a great weekend breakfast pastry, snack with coffee or serve it for dessert on it’s own, drizzled with a sweet cashew cream or with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.
More easy, nourishing vegan desserts
- Damn Good Vegan Shortbread Cookies
- Vegan Low FODMAP Peanut Butter Cookies
- Vegan Cashew Cream Fruit Dip (Healthy!)
- Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cheesecake (vegan)
- Vegan Peach Blackberry Crumble (Crisp)
Flaky Pear Dessert Tart (Vegan)
- 1 cup whole grain rye flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup vegan baking sticks, divided, I used 2 Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup ice water, that just means very cold water!
- 4 to 5 medium ripe, firm pears
- ⅓ cup lightly packed brown sugar, use ½ cup for sweeter taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional, for serving
- cashew cream, or vegan ice cream
- Food Processor
Prepare the pastry
- Cut 1½ sticks of butter into small cubes and place in food processor with the flours, cane sugar, and salt. Pulse until the butter is in pea-sized pieces, about 10-12 pulses.
- Then, drizzle the water into the food processor while pulsing, just until dough comes together – it’s quick!
- Flour your surface, and knead the dough a few times until it comes together in a flattened disk. If dough feels a bit too sticky, just knead in a little more flour. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut a large piece of parchment and place on your work surface. Lightly flour it.
- Place chilled dough on floured parchment and roll out to roughly 10 x 14 inch (25 x 35 cm) rectangle. No need to get it perfect, rustic is what we’re after. Transfer the parchment to a rimmed baking sheet and place in the fridge for 15 more minutes while you slice the pears.
Assemble the tart
- Slice the pears, about ¼ – ⅓ inch (0.75 cm). Arrange them on the chilled dough, then scatter the remaining ½ stick of diced butter on top, and sprinkle over the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Bake for 50-65 minutes, checking every 3 minutes after 50. You want the sugar looking bubbly, and the edges of the pastry golden brown (but not dark!) Let it cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a cutting board and slice into squares, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
- Leftover tart will keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge.