Sheets of crisp, paper-thin phyllo dough encase a filling of toasted ground almonds, with red-skinned pears as the crowning touch. We call for Anjou, but you can also use Bartlett, Bosc, or Concorde pears.
2/3 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
12 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 red Anjou pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apple jelly
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place almonds and sugar in a food processor; process until very finely ground. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, vanilla, salt, and egg; process to form a sticky paste.
Place remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until butter melts. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet on a cutting board or other work surface (cover remaining phyllo to keep from drying); brush lightly with butter. Top with another phyllo sheet; brush lightly with butter. Fold phyllo stack in half lengthwise to form a 9 x 7-inch stack. Loosely fold edges of phyllo up toward the center to create a 4 1/2-inch rimmed tart shell. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; coat phyllo shell with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with the remaining phyllo sheets, butter, and cooking spray to form 6 shells.
Spread about 2 tablespoons almond mixture over each tart shell; top each with about 6 slightly overlapping pear slices. Bake at 375° for 23 minutes or until phyllo is browned and crisp.
Place jelly in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 20 seconds or until jelly melts. Brush jelly evenly over tarts.
Wine Note: The rich, pear-and-honey flavors of Pacific Rim Vin de Glacière Riesling (Washington, $1 4/375-milliliter) deliver the right amount of sweetness (so that you actually taste the wine) without steamrolling the tarts. Be sure the wine is well chilled to bring out its palate-cleansing crispness. --Scott Jones