Saturday, September 25, 2010

Part 2 Of 2 & Pear-Cheese Tart (with gingersnap crust)

*This is a continuation of a two-part post. The first of which can be opened in a separate page HERE.

When I started cooking again more seriously several months back, after not for nearly a decade, I endeavored to accomplish two things: Be more adventurous. Try something new. I have a bad habit of falling into a comfort zone and staying there. Once things become pro forma, I get bored and quit.

Case in point, Clarinet: Quit after 100 sum odd torture inducing solo performances of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. High school: Quit! After 9 years of formal (what I guess the Boston Public School System is passing for) "education," I left with what little of my dignity remained and a letter of dismissal. Kickboxing: Training 4-6 hours a day became my life. I lived and breathed this sport which, to this day, remains my love. Alas, eventually the routine grew tiring and I quit!

What I've since come to realize about myself is that it's not "routine" that wears on my fortitude, as much as it's the frame in which my perspective is held. "Change the way you look at something, and the thing itself changes." If I learned to play a song I enjoyed on the clarinet, maybe I would have stuck with it. If I transferred to a school with a less traditional approach, maybe I would have felt challenged enough to not drop out. If I expanded my method of training to include...well, you get the point. I'd still have those gorgeous abs!

I do come back to the things I love eventually, if they're good for me. I always do. Only, with the lessons quitting has taught me and a new perspective. Hundreds of books and essays and articles read, I've always loved and valued learning. Kickboxing has worked its way back into my daily routine without becoming routine. And I prefer listening to rather than making music. So it goes...

This dessert is a favorite in my house and something I make often with graham cracker crust and seasonal fruit, like pineapple or strawberries.

Today's version was born out of a willingness to try something I wouldn't have expected in a sweet treat, like ground black pepper in Gingersnap Cookies. Which I now see totally makes sense. And a desire to change my opinion about something I've never been too fond of: pears. A fruit I learned I can enjoy if pictured in the right frame.

Pear-Cheese Tart with (Chez Panisse recipe) Gingersnap Cookie Crust

Recipes couresty and Adapted from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution (Clarkson Potter) by Alice Waters, via David Lebovitz. And Moi.


4 Sweet Bartlett Pears (Or a mix of Bartlett and Bosc)
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (Optional)


2 cups crushed Chez Panisse recipe Gingersnap Cookies
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)


1 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream (Prepared)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

One 8 oz. package Philadelphia cream cheese
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar


Peel pears. Cut in half and remove core. Cut pears in slices. Add slices to medium sauce pan with lemon juice, zest, brown sugar, and corn starch. Cook over medium heat until ingredients have combined and pears have broken down some, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crush gingersnap cookies in food processor. Slowly add in melted butter until combined. Pour mixture into pie pan and, with the heel of your hand, form into crust around bottom and sides of pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add cream cheese and 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar to medium bowl and mix until creamy. In separate bowl, lightly whip heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar and vanilla into soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese until mostly combined. Using mixer, mix until completely combined and smooth. Taste for sweetness and adjust as necessary.


Scrape cream cheese mixture into cooled crust. Spread evenly. Spoon cooled pear mixture over cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours, or until set up.


  1. wow, your kitchen must smell so good all the time!

  2. This looks so good! I'd have to fight my family for enough cookies to make the crust though. I guess I'll have to make an extra batch!

  3. I am drooling at the flavor combination of pears, cheesecake and gingersnaps. Beautiful!

  4. PMG Ree this Pears Tart look wonderful! x gloria

  5. Yum! This tart sounds amazing! Love the filling with pear and the gingersnap crust!

  6. Oh my, these are my favourites! My mouth watering. These are such a teaser! haha.... You're using your homemade cookies for the base. How cool is that! Thanks for sharing and hope you're enjoying your weekend.

  7. OK the the ginger snap crust already had me hooked before the filling even arrived. :-) Diane

  8. Those tarts of yours certainly look awesome! bet they taste even better!

  9. Hi Ree! Gosh, I know I have been MIA for a looong loong time, but just wanted to drop a quick hi. Looks like you've been cooking and baking up lots of delicious looking things. Yum! I miss blogging so much, I hope to be back at it soon. Things have been extremely busy with the new job and I barely have a minute to myself these days. Hopefully it will get easier soon. Anyway, hope everything is going well with you!

  10. These are my favourites! Really mouthwatering! You're so cool making these with your homemade cookies. Thanks for the recipe. Btw, I have a little something for you. Please feel free to hop over to collect it. Thank you & Enjoy your day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  11. How delicious!
    This is the sort of food that i cannot resist...

  12. What a lovely, lovely dessert Ree! I love pears but don't bake with them often enough. The flavors in this sound wonderful - I'm imagining the cool creamy filling with the spice of the crust and the mild pears. Just divine!

  13. This is drippy drooly...and full of chocolaty and pear goodness. You know what..last year I made a chocolate walnut pear cake. Without flour!

    I have to try this new one of yours. Bet its nice to be having these as Cambridge sets into a cool pattern

  14. Well, the crust is my favorite part...but the whole thing looks amazing! And I am the SAME way...I get bored and drop things. Everything except food ;)

  15. We have a lot in common, it seems :)
    This looks and sounds wonderful!

  16. UM, how did I miss this post again?! Those pictures are beautiful and the gooey pears and strawberries look mouthwatering!!!!


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