The most wonderful thing about these pear tarts with star anise and honey is the flavor. The pears and honey are delightfully sweet together and the star anise lends a bit of complexity, but is subtle enough that even people who aren’t big fans of anise will enjoy them. The crust is our favorite, flaky tart crust. It’s our go-to crust because it always yields a flaky, buttery crust.
The second most wonderful thing about these pear tarts is that they are exactly the kind of sophisticated dish that seems like they were difficult and time-consuming to make, when they are actually quite simple. That makes them perfect for entertaining, because you always want your guests to think that you spent more time and effort on them than you actually did.
Pear Tarts with Star Anise and Honey
makes 6 tarts
for the dough
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
for the filling
4 pears, peeled and sliced to 1/4″ thick
1/3 cup honey
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 star anise seed, freshly ground (use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder)
1 clove, freshly ground
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in your food processor. Next, add the butter and pulse several times. The dough should have a sandy texture. Slowly add the water and again pulse just until combined. Note: If you don’t have food processor, mix the flour by hand, then cut in the butter with a pastry knife, then add the water and mix manually just until the ingredients are combined.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and form into a 6″ disc. Wrap the disc with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a half-hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the pears, honey, lemon juice and zest, spices, salt, and flour. Toss together and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick. Cut into six 5″ squares. Press each square into a greased muffin tin. Fold any extra dough under the sides to build them up.
Carefully arrange the pear slices in each cup, and then spoon a bit of the liquid over each. Bake the tarts for 30-35 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden. Cool for 10 minutes, carefully remove from the muffin tin and serve.