For Thanksgiving last week, I was up against 4 other bakers who were 1 to 2 generations older than I, and who had baked from scratch for only oh, 40-70 years more than I. Faced with such unsurmountable odds, I decided to submit 2 desserts, a flourless (or should I say less flour) chocolate cake that reduced me almost to tears when it came out all wrong (separate post to come), and Galleygirl's infamous pear tart, the resulting photo below.
I was going for looks so I decided to tweak the method. I didn't want the pears to disappear (this is also why I chose the Galleygirl pear tart, which has a stiffer batter, over the Sir Gawain fruit cake, which had disappearing fruit when I made it). I was also using a 9" pan for the first time. So I increased the batter recipe by 50%. I really packed as many pears as I could, and instead of pressing them in vertically, I laid them at an angle, with some pieces flat, then pressed down on the whole layer of pears slightly.
In the end, I succeeded in looks, but to my dismay, the crumb came out much more dense and less moist than past Galleygirl pear tarts I've made. I don't think I overbaked (42 min. in convection oven). I started out with very juicy ripe Bartlett pears, so I don't think the pears were to blame. Though they were little tiny pears, so the ratio of batter to pear volume was prob too high.
Lesson learned: it looks great to have the pears stay floating on top, but it tastes much better if they sink into the batter while baking. Also, if you increase the batter, increase your volume of pears accordingly.
BTW, I used apricot jam as a glaze, simply heated then brushed on top after cake had cooled.