Pear & Almond Tart

Pear & almond tart is the quintessential French tart found in almost every pastry shop in France. Sometimes called Tarte Bourdaloue aux Poire or in Italy Frangipani Tart.

The frangipani part refers to the rich almond filling basically the same as our British Bakewell tart. The French version has sliced cooked pears baked in the tart. The tart is then glazed with an apricot glaze. This is truly one of the classic tarts and one that I learnt very early in my career and it has always remained a firm favourite in my baking repertoire.

If you have the time and inclination do poach your own pears, however, most pastry shops use good quality tinned ones and there is nothing wrong with that at all. You can just glaze the tart and leave it plain or embellish it with toasted almonds and pistachios and icing sugar. I have worked in places where they bake the pastry case blind prior to filling, there really is no need to do this as long as you roll the pastry nice and thin and bake the tin on a good baking tray to allow the heat to bake the base of the tart nicely.

When the tart is cool and ready to be glazed you will get a much better result if you brush the tart twice with nearly boiling glaze. Think of it as undercoat then topcoat and you will get the idea.

The Recipe

250g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
pinch salt
2 medium egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla

100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
100g ground almonds
25g plain flour
Few drops almond extract
6-8 halves of tinned or poached pears

To Finish
toasted flaked almonds or ground pistachios
apricot glaze

The Method

1. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl.
2. Add the 150g of butter and rub into the dry ingredients.
3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix to a smooth paste.
4. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge.
5. For the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar until light.
6. Gradually add the egg and yolk and beat in, add the almond extract.
7. Add the flour and ground almonds and fold in.
8. Roll the pastry to about 3mm thick & line a 24cm tin, fork the base.
9. Place the frangipane into the case and spread level.
10. Slice the pear halves and place neatly in the tin.
11. Bake at 160°c for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
12. Check the base is cooked then remove from the tin and cool.
13. When tepid brush twice with boiling apricot glaze.
14. Decorate with toasted almonds or ground pistachios.
15. When the tart is cold dust edges lightly with neige décor.

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