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yet another gg pear tart question

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  • sara Jan 6, 2005 10:28 AM
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alright..
so all these posts about this amazing and easy pear tart- and i'm sold- i want to try my hand at one this weekend. the only problem is, i really have never actually baked anything from scratch before. i love cooking, but i've really never ventured into the whole baking desserts realm.
so here are my questions- (and please forgive how painfully obtuse they may sound)
what is a springboard pan? how does this differ from a regular baking pan? is it necessary? how does it work?
how long should the cake cool?
do i take it out of the pan if i'm going to let it sit overnight in the fridge?
is there anything else, equipment-wise, that i need for this cake? i.e.- a mixer..
any other maybe-obvious-to-you-but-not-at-all-to-me tips are incredibly welcome.
thank you!!!

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  1. It is a springform pan not spring board. It is a cake pan that has a removable bottom. Most often in cook shops you will find the sort that the pan's side has a buckle that fastens the sides of the pan to the bottom. Occasionally you can find one where the sides are stationary and the bottom is removed by pushing up on it from the underside.

    1. Yes, you need at least a hand mixer. When I made the tart for Christmas Dinner, I made it the day before and let it come to room temp. I then "unbuckled the buckle" on the springform pan and wrapped the tart in foil, leaving it on the bottom of the pan to reheat the next day. I'm sure there are any number of ways you could successfully reheat it if you didn't want to serve it room temp.

      1. The springform pan is only necessary if you want it to be in pretty slices when served. I imagine it would be very difficult to get it out of an 8" cake pan in intact pieces. However, if you want to try it once yourself before you unleash it on anyone else, you don't need it. I remember someone else increased the recipe and put it in a 9x13 pan, probably just had to mangle one end of the cake to get out nice square pieces.

        You'll definitely need a mixer to cream the butter and sugar. That just means mix (room temp, not melted) butter and sugar together until it holds together. After that, just follow the directions. It'll be much easier than you think. Good luck!

        12 Replies
        1. re: Jess

          "You'll definitely need a mixer to cream the butter and sugar." ...my thoughts exactly...

          .but I sorta wonder what our grandmas did when they made cookies and cakes in the age of not every home having a mixer. They must have had some big biceps and forearms...maybe from washing clothes by hand and hanging them up to dry afterwards.

          Either that or their idea of "room temp" butter was a few degrees higher than what I consider "room temp."

          Here are some instructions for hand creaming from the baking911 site:

          "HAND BEATING Some cream the butter and sugar by hand (I know my grandmother did), but for beginners, I recommend using an electric mixer. She left the butter to sit at room temperature for an hour to soften, beat the butter first to soften and then added sugar. My grandmother then beat it to light, fluffy mass and only she could get it perfectly. For cold, hard butter, use the following system: cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and place it with the sugar in a mixing bowl set over barely simmering water. Beat with a wooden spoon for several seconds until the butter softens. Then set the bowl in a basin of cold water and beat for a minute or two until the mixture is light, fluffy, and a pale ivory color."

          Link: http://www.baking911.com/howto_cream.htm

          1. re: Anne in SF

            My Grandmother still uses a wonderful old gadget in place of a hand mixer that works perfectly. It's basically 2 beaters fused together with a small wheel at the top. You turn a little handle that moves the wheel and it rotates the beaters. Works like a charm!

            1. re: Erin

              BTW in the olden days we called that wonderful old gadget an "eggbeater".

              1. re: Erin

                Yep, we had one of those when I was little (and I'm not that old). I wonder if my mom still has it?

                1. re: Jess

                  It's not like rotary eggbeaters have gone the way of the dodo! They are still readily available and a useful tool. How else would one mix pancake batter, or crepe batter?

                  Link: http://ww1.williams-sonoma.com/cat/pi...

                  1. re: DanaB

                    I just use a hand whisk-- a small, sturdy one, also from WS. That way I don't overmix and can scrape the bowl easier, especially in the case of pancake batter.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      I would not use an eggbeater for pancake batter! Mixing pancake batter is similar to mixing biscuits or pie crust. A light touch just to mix is all that's needed.

                      Otherwise, you cause gluten to form and that makes the batter tough!

                      1. re: Ilaine

                        My grandmother made the best crepes I've ever eaten and always mixed them with an egg beater. I guess it depends upon your recipe.

                  2. re: Erin

                    Her egg beater may be old, but they are readily available everywhere and 'though I may use mine only once or twice a year I would not be without one.

                  3. re: Anne in SF

                    Apparently they did have very strong arms. Some old cake recipes have instructions that start with "Beat the butter and sugar for an hour..." Egads. I think that's why cakes were considered fancy, special occasion foods, and pies were everyday food.

                    1. re: Jujubee

                      Yeeps! An hour?! If I had to mix anything for an hour by hand, I'd probably ruin it with the droplets (or cups?!) of sweat that would make it's way into the batter.

                    2. re: Anne in SF
                      p
                      pecan pie wife

                      Another trick that works for cold (even frozen) butter is to grate it with the large holes of a box grater. After it's grated, it's easy to cream with a mixer or cut into flour for a crust.

                  4. I made the famous gg pear tart last night-- it was really fabulous (and took about 10 minutes to put together)! I used bosc pears which are not as juicy as other varieties but really held together during baking. I also used a 7x11 pyrex pan instead of a tart pan. The pieces came out of the pan just fine since the pan was generously greased. I did think that it was a little on the sweet side, so next time I'm going to grate in a little lemon zest and maybe toss in some frozen cranberries for color. Thanks gg!

                    1. Can someone repost the recipe?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: TP

                        Here's a link to the thread from yesterday (which appears about 4 inches below this one) with the recipe.

                        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                        1. re: Anon

                          The reason I asked was because I wasn't sure how this poster "adapted" the recipe. i.e. How different is it from the original?

                          Thanks.

                          1. re: TP

                            This is the original....many epeople feel my oven is too cold, and they feel you should check the doneness after 40 minutes or so..
                            This is my father's all-time favorite dessert...I got
                            it from a chef-friend of mine, named Laurie....She
                            calls it a Pear Tart, but it's more like a dense,
                            rich, buttery cake, made heavy by the pear juice that
                            infuses it...Don't overcook; it's even better the next
                            day!

                            Laurie's Pear Tart

                            3 or 4 ripe juicey pears....(doesn't matter what kind, juicy and ripe are KEY!)
                            Peel,core and cut into sixths, or eighths

                            Cream
                            1 stick butter
                            3/4 c. sugar
                            1teasoon vanilla..

                            Add
                            2 eggs, one at a time...

                            Combine
                            1 c. flour
                            1 teasoon baking powder
                            1/2 t. salt...

                            Add to butter mixture.

                            Spray an 8" (important) spring form pan with
                            Pam...Spread the batter in it..Now, in a pinwheel
                            pattern, press the slices of pear, peeled side up,
                            into the batter...Cram in as many as you can; since
                            the batter rises and covers the pears, there's no
                            points given for style here(g)...The more pears, the
                            moister the cake will be.(sprinkle with handful of sugar before baking)

                            Bake at 350 degrees til a skewer comes out clean,
                            about an hour(Start checking at 40 minutes!)...If you have any doubts,
                            UNDERBAKE....This is a whole different animal if it
                            dries out...Then it's just a cake; correctly done,
                            you'll love it...It's just one of those recipes that
                            is greater than the sum of it's parts. really. Ask my
                            Dad...;)

                            Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com

                      2. I despise baking, but enjoy baked goods, so I try my hand at in from time to time. The one thing about this recipe that made me insecure was the creaming step. I have a rickety hand mixer and tried my best, but the butter and sugar didn't look all that creamy to me, and after I'd added eggs, it looked a bit curdled.

                        I had promised this tart for a Christmas party, so I kept going. It turned out beautifully. This is a very forgiving recipe. I made another recently, using apples and cranberries. Go for it!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pat Hammond
                          j
                          jennyantepenultimate

                          This certainly is a forgiving recipe. I know I've already posted about how it was the star of my Xmas dessert tray but I don't think I mentioned how I almost ruined the tart. I didn't use a springform pan and I didn't grease the pan (round but not even 8" either) since I had planned on lining it with parchment paper. While I was juggling making brownies at the same time, I forgot to put the parchment paper in. I only remembered after I had poured all the batter in and was laying in the pears. And so I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, thinking I could just serve it to family after the dinner party if it was cemented to the pan. I left it in the pan overnight and the next day, ran a cake spatula under as much of it as I could (the pan has rounded sides). I was happily amazed when it came out in one piece. Yay for the amazing, delicious, indestructible pear tart recipe!

                        2. I've never creamed butter and sugar together with anything but a wooden spoon (have broken a few this way, over the years, but...), so I say you don't absolutely need a hand mixer. But you may be more comfortable with one (or I can send my German mother to your house for a wooden spoon lesson).

                          1. thanks to everyone for their informative and supportive responses! i'm going to get a pan and a mixer after work today and bake the damn thing tonight for a dinner tomorrow evening. i'm feeling much more secure about the whole thing- i'll report back!!
                            thanks again!