This is the season when I get to enjoy one of my favorite fruits in an almond and pear tart. The stronger flavored sweet almond filling is a little unusual for a frangipane style tart such as this – and it is delicious. The contrast between the juicy pears and the almond filling is wonderful and so perfect this time of year. It is a relatively easy and straightforward tart to make and has a pretty and slightly rustic presentation.
Use red pears if you can find them – green will also do. Make sure they are ripe, but still slightly firm. It is also very important to use extra fine almond flour verses almond meal which has a much more coarse texture. I make the pastry dough in my food processor and then make the filling in the processor which simplifies the recipe. You can certainly use an electric mixer if you prefer.
|French Almond and Pear Tart|
- 3-5 red pears (if you want all of the pear halves to have stems, use 5 pears)
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup extra fine almond flour
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 lemon
- Basic butter pastry dough (below)
- Preheat oven to 400°f.
- Using half of the pastry dough, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 16" x 6" rectangle. Press the dough into a 13¾" x 4½" x 1" tart tin.
- Trim edges and chill for 10–15 minutes.
- Line the tart shell with parchment and fill with pie weights or beans.
- Bake for for 12 minutes.
- While the tart shell is baking, cut the pears in half and core keeping the stems intact if possible. Immediately squeeze lemon juice over the cut portions of the pear to stop any browning from occurring.
- Remove the tart shell from the oven, carefully remove the weights or beans and paper and place the shell back in the oven. Bake for another 8 minutes or until pastry is just beginning to get some color.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- Reduce oven to 350°f.
- Using a food processor, mix the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
- Add the egg and rum and mix until well combined.
- Add the almond flour and all-purpose flour and pulse a few times until well combined.
- Spoon the filling into the tart shell and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or small spatula.
- Arrange the pear halves in the tin, alternating the direction they are facing, pressing them gently into the filling.
- Make 3 length-wise cuts down each of the pears.
- Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
|Basic Butter Pastry Dough|
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1¾ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ cup chilled water (more or less as needed)
- 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
- In a food processor or by hand, cut together the butter, flour and salt until just barely blended (there should still be small pea size bits of butter in the mix).
- Add the ice water a little at a time, pulsing the processor a few times each time you add the water or tossing with a fork. Only add enough water for the dough to just hold together. It may appear a little lumpy, which is fine.
- Remove the dough and form into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for 30 minutes or so (you can also freeze it at this point for future use).