Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pear & Cream Cheese Tart aka Thanksgiving Dessert

In honor of Robert getting his driver's license yesterday (woop woop!) I decided to go hog wild and make dessert on a week night. After all, he does love pears, and I happened to have some perfectly ripe ones on hand. 

Blah blah blah, fast forward, needle skids off record, screeeeeeeeeeech.
He doesn't eat cooked pears.


But the rest of us shoveled this in like it was our J.O.B.

This dessert is not only simple to make (foolproof, even!), it's delicious and so much prettier than pumpkin pie.

(I'm sorry I keep hating on pumpkin pie.)

It screams Thanksgiving Dinner.

You'll want to buy your pears several days ahead and let them ripen up. If you're in a hurry, put them in a paper bag, roll the top closed, and forget about them for a couple days. Your pears will ideally be super juicy and quite soft. I used red pears this time, but any kind will do.

The end result is a perfectly crunchy crust, a cheesecakey interior, and sweet, juicy, spiced pears on top. It's divine. Even my "I don't have a sweet tooth" husband had two slices.

It's subtle. It's fancy. It's classic.
It's the Natalie Portman of the dessert buffet. 

It's deceptively easy to throw together.
It'll make you feel like you deserve your own cooking show.

 Pear & Cream Cheese Tart

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup flour
1 pkg (8 0z) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 thinly sliced pears, peeled

Preheat oven to 425.
Beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. (I do this in my Kitchenaid mixer.)
Add flour, mix well.
Spread firmly onto bottom and up the sides of a springform pan (I push it about 3/4 of an inch up the sides of a 10-inch pan. A 9 inch pan is a more standard size, so you could push up about an inch.)

Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar in same bowl.
Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
Spread evenly over crust.

Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Toss sliced pears with sugar mixture until covered.
Arrange pears in concentric circles on top of cream cheese filling, starting with the outside and working in.
Eat any left-over cinnamon sugar pears.
(Do not share.)

Bake 10 minutes then reduce to 375 and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown at edges and the middle is set.
Cool on wire rack.
Remove outside of springform pan.
Refrigerate tart for a few hours until cool and well set.


  1. Oh yum!!!! Congrats on the new driver as well...even if he doesn't like cooked pears. :-)

  2. hooray and yum! i just might try this for our teachers at our Kids Hope partner school :)

    Though maybe I should try it at home for Sunday dessert first? ;)

  3. Okay-not a big pear fan either. Do you think you could substitute apples??

    1. I don't think it bakes long enough to soften the apples up. They might stay crunchy??

  4. Could this be made in anything other than a springform pan?

    1. Good question! You could try lining a baking dish with foil (hanging over the edges) then lift it out with the foil after baking and peel the foil down? I think that would work!

  5. I'm sold! This is definitely something I want to try!

  6. That is one good lookin' dessert!!!!!!!! My oldest daughter got her license yesterday too!!!!

  7. Do you just hate pumpkin in general or pumpkin pie specifically? In my experience most pumpkin pie is bland and lacking. To improve it and make really GOOD pumpkin pie you need to add molasses to the recipe, double the spices (don't use pumpkin pie spice), use cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger and allspice! I have an awesome recipe if you want one.

    1. I will eat it, but I'm not a huge fan. I think it's a texture thing??
      Just not my favorite thing. :) But I LOVE other pumpkin stuff!

  8. thankyouverymuch...
    I'll try it this weekend.

  9. Ummm, are you sure this is dessert? To me, it looks like breakfast :)
    Congrats on the new driver!!

  10. 'It's the Natalie Portman of the dessert buffet'
    May be my favorite line ever...and makes me want to make this dessert. I love Natalie.

  11. Oh. My. Gosh. That looks so good!!! I am sick on the couch. I wonder if I can talk my husband into making this for me right now? #longshot. Thank you for sharing, and congrats to your new driver! ~Angela~

  12. It was everything you said -- beautiful AND delicious. Thank you! My whole family gobbled it up in record time.

  13. Replies
    1. Woo hoo!!!!
      I knew you guys would love it. I make it every year. Sometimes twice. :)

  14. I made this tonight - I felt like a fraud taking any credit at all. It really is very simple to make, but oh my stars! Perfection! It was a hit - and everyone demanded the recipe, so I'm sending them here :)

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  16. Okay, I'm doing this for Thanksgiving. You will get all the credit!

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  18. It's 10pm and I'm supposed to be making the crust for an apple/pear pie... but this Mama is tired and you used the words "simple" and "foolproof" to describe this little gem of a dessert. Needless to say, the torte is in the oven. You are the hero of the night before Thanksgiving!!! Thank you for reposting on IG.!!!

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