Pear & Almond Cream Tart
I don’t know if this picture actually relays how delicious this tart actually was. I think this is one of those things that tastes a whole better then it looks. I brought this tart to a girls get-together and served it already cut up into the slices. At first nobody really paid much attention to it until somebody said that I brought this tart (at which point, some of the people passed the “reaally?” look around, this is how unattractive this tart was sliced up) and so people started each taking a piece. Let me just say, that people were very surprised to find out how delicious this tart was was, contrary to it’s looks. Some said that this tart is the best tart they’ve ever had. Others said that now they know what a real frangipane tart should taste like and realize how bad the last frangipane tart from a French pastry shop was. To be honest, I really didn’t have any expectations for this tart, other than I anted it to have the flaky crust and include pears that I poached in some vanilla and liquor infused syrup. I did want to find out what the frangipane filling tasted like too, I mean it sounds so French that you know it has to be good. So if you have some pears laying around and wonder what you should do with them, here’s one option. And a good one, if I may say so myself.
Pear Frangipane Tart (Pear & Almond Cream Tart)
Pate Sablee Crust
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 stick (113 g) unsalted cold butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 small egg
- 6-7 Pears, peeled and cored (Bosc works best)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup Grand Marnier, Amaretto or Apricot/Peach Liqueur
- 5 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 1 cinnamon quill (optional)
To make the Almond Cream/Filling (Frangipane)
- 125 g unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make Sable Crust:
- Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, powdered sugar, salt) in a large bowl.
- Slice the cold butter into to the flour. Keep cutting until the chunks are about the size of a pea (or add everything to the blender and pulse until the chunks are pea-size).
- Add the egg and mix the ingredients together with a spoon. If using the blender, add the egg and process until the dough starts to stick together.
- Use your hands to kneed the dough until it barely starts to come together. Push the dough into a ball (it will be very crumbly, but that’s ok). Cover with plastic wrap. Flatten to make a disk.
- Refrigerate for about 1 hour. (Prepare the pears during this time).
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Shape it into a ball and roll it out between 2 layers of parchment paper or saran wrap, to about 3-4 mm thick (you could just flour your work surface really well and not use the parchment). Transfer into the 12 inch tart mold and pat it with your fingertips to fit it tightly inside the mold. Prick the dough with a fork.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300F and bake the tart for about 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool on wire rack.
To make Poached Pears:
- In a large pot combine, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, star anise, alcohol and the cinnamon quill. Bring to a boil.
- Place the peels & cored pears into the syrup and simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool (I left the pears in the syrup overnight, which allowed the pears to be completely infused with vanilla).
- Once cool, remove pears from the syrup and and slice them thinly.
To make Frangipane:
- You can use either blanched or unblanched almond (with the dark part of the nut on or off).
- Put the almonds and the flour into the bowl of a food processor and grind.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer beat the softened/room temperature butter and sugar.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix well between each addition.
- Add the ground up almond mixture. Mix until well combined.
- Spoon the frangipane mixture into the tart and spread it around.
- Place the thinly sliced pears on top of the frangipane, making a circle, leaving about an inch space from the tarts edge.
- Sprinkle sliced almonds around the edge of the tart.
- Bake for additional 45 minutes, at 300F.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
- While the tart is baking, reduce the leftover syrup/poaching liquid, until thickened (almost like honey).
- Brush the tart with this syrup as soon as it comes out of the oven.
NotesYou can use store-bought crust instead of making one yourself
*Instead of making the glaze, you can brush the tart with honey, heated jam, or alternatively sprinkle with powdered sugar.