French Pear & Almond Tart
When I first visited France as a teenager, I was gob smacked by the range of confectionery on sale in French patisseries. The fruit tarts were and have remained my favourites.
||Cakes & Desserts
Grave yearnings always struck during pregnancy. Not for me the odd craving to eat coal or soap. No. In the midst of nausea and in true Marie Antoinette fashion, I’d cry out “I really fancy Tarte Aux Poivres” Occasionally half a dozen Ferrero Rochers or chocolate cherries sufficed if a French pastry shop wasn’t within a 50 km radius.
When making this pastry all ingredients and utensils must be cold, along with the kitchen if possible. You could make the pastry ahead of time and freeze it or keep in the fridge overnight.
First make the pastry as follows:
Ingredients for Pastry
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sugar
- 150 grams (6 oz) chilled butter cut into small pieces
- 50 grams (2 oz) hard margarine straight from the fridge
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Place the flour, salt, sugar, butter and margarine into a large bowl.
- Rub the flour and fat together very quickly until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add water and blend quickly into a ball of dough. You may need a few drops of extra water to pick up it all, however, do not over do it or the pastry will be soggy.
- Refrigerate the pastry while you prepare the extra ingredients.
- When rolling out your pastry do so as quickly as possible so that the fat does not soften.
Ingredients for Flan
- 3 pears
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 80 grams sugar
Ingredients for the frangipane
- 75 grams butter
- 75 grams ground almonds
- 60 grams sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon calvados
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ¼ teaspoon almond essence
- Make pastry
- Peel, core and half the pears.
- Roll the pastry into a circle and cover a buttered 23cm(8 inch) round baking dish with it. Fork the pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes. Cover with parchment paper and dried peas to keep flat.
- In a large heavy based saucepan dissolve the sugar in a cup of water. Add the pears, bring to boil and cook under a lid for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and let the pears cool down in the syrup. Score the pears as if cutting sections but only slice 1/3 way through.
- To make the frangipane stir together the butter and sugar. One by one mix in the eggs, ground almonds, flour. Add the calvados and almond essence.
- Remove pastry case and pour in the frangipane. Take the pears out of the syrup and dry them slightly. Place the pears on the frangipane and gently press them down.
- Bake at 200C(390F) for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180C (375F)and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Take the tart out of the oven and allow it cool inside the baking dish.
- In a saucepan, heat the pear syrup and reduce to around 1/3. Brush the tart with the thickened syrup to make it glossy.
Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or crème Anglaise.