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Pear-On-Pear Tart

1 1/4 c All-purpose flour
1/8 ts Salt
1/2 c Unsalted butter
1 Egg yolk
2 1/2 tb Ice water (approximately)
8 Ripe pears (comice/anjou)
(about 3 pounds)
1 ts Ground ginger
1/3 c Apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To make the pastry: Combine the flour with the salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a knife. Blend with a pastry blender until the flour has the texture of coarse crumbs. Combine the egg yolk with the ice water and work into the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead briefly and press the dough over the bottom and sides of a buttered loose bottomed 10-inch quiche pan. Trim the edges. Line the pastry with aluminum foil and weight with rice or beans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and rice or beans; bake until the pastry is golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
To make the caramel: Combine 1/3 cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a medium skillet. Heat to boiling and boil until the mixture turns a light caramel color. Carefully, but quickly, brush the caramel over the bottom and sides of the pastry shell.
To make filling: Peel 6 of the pears, cut in half, and remove the cores. Cut each half into 4 slices. Place the pears in a large heavy skillet or saucepan. combine 2/3 cup sugar, the ginger, and 1 cup water and pour over the pears. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, until pears are soft but not mushy, 6-8 minutes, depending on ripeness of pears. Cool.
Drain the pears, reserving the liquid. Arrange the pears over the bottom of the pastry shell.
Peel the remaining pears, cut into quarters, and remove the cores. Cut each quarter into thin slices. Arange symmetrically over the cooked pears.
Combine the apricot preserves with 4 tablespoons of the pear liquid in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling; strain.
Brush the tart with half the apricot mixture. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the remaining apricot mixture. Serve slightly warmed with whipped cream if desired.

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