Pear and frangipane tart

Pear and frangipane was on my list of bookmarked dishes to cook sometime.  I decided to serve it as a dessert for our Diwali dinner at the weekend. I didn’t have a chance to do a test run as the kitchen was only ready towards the end of last week, so I knew I was taking a risk of getting it wrong.

I googled and found a recipe by Angela Hartnett. I didn’t use her recipe for the pastry. Instead I opted for Patricia Well’s recipe for Pate Sucree.   Give the recipes a good read, and decide on the sequence of the various processes. This is not something to be rushed. Here are the recipes for ease of reference:

A) Pate Sucree

  • 175g plain flour
  • 105g unsalted butter, diced and cold (I used the one I bought from the French Market. It was delicious)
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsps of so ice water

B) Fragipane

  • 125g softened butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almond
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (not on original recipe)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

C) Pears

  • 4 large pears, ripe
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 strips of orange zest (I skipped this)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod (skipped this as well)
  • about 1 litre water
  • 250g caster sugar

Method

A) Pastry

  1. You could pulse all the ingredients in a food processor (10 pulses) until combined , or, manually mix the flour and sugar on a cold surface/pastry mat, and quickly rub the butter into the mixture. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time and form a pastry dough. Don’t knead.  This needs to be done in 2 minutes or so as you don’t want the butter to melt. If the pastry is too sticky, dust with some flour, shape into a disc, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius
  3. Dust a surface/pastry mat with some flour
  4. Grease a 10″ loose-base tart tin
  5. Roll out the pastry (quickly before the butter starts to melt) into a circle to fit into the tart tin
  6. Use your rolling pin to transport the pastry onto the tart tin, and roll out the pastry
  7. Trim off any excess pastry, prick the bottom of the tart with a fork to let air out when it is baking
  8. Grease some foil and place it on the pastry grease side down
  9. Place some baking beans on the foil to weigh down the pastry so that the sides don’t collapse when you’re baking it
  10. Blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remove the foil and beans and cook for a further 12 minutes
  11. Chill the tart casing before use

B) Frangipane

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and pale
  2. Beat in 1 egg at a time
  3. Fold in the ground almond and flour
  4. Chill before use

C) Poached pears

  1. In a deep pot, add 500ml of the water and the sugar and place on a medium heat on the stove
  2. Peal the pears
  3. Once the sugar has melted (give the water a stir) place the pears, spices, juice of 1/2 lemon, the squeezed lemon and orange peel into the pot
  4. Cut a baking paper into a circle, big enough to fit into the pot
  5. Cover the pears with the baking sheet
  6. Place a saucer/small plate over the paper to weigh down the pears
  7. Cover with the pears with the remaining water so that all of the pears are submerged
  8. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t overcook them as you don’t want the pears to be mushy. They should retain some of their firmness
  9. Remove from poaching liquid

D) Assembly and final bake

  1. Use about 75% of the frangipane to fill the tart casing. There should be some room of 1 cm at least from the top of the tart to the fragipane filling and top up as necessary.  Don’t overfill, as when you place the pears on top of the fragipane, the filling might spill over which won’t make for a pretty tart
  2. Half and core the poached pears. Slice them widthways, use a knife and push them down to form a fan
  3. Place the pears on the frangipane filling so that they look like petals
  4. Bake at 190 degrees celsius for 50 minutes
  5. I mixed 1 tsp marmalade with 1 tsp water to make a glaze. I brushed the glaze over the pears
  6. Serve warm with double cream or ice cream

This tart was hard work, but definitely worth the effort in the end. The recipe called for a lot of sugar, so don’t eat it all at once!

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One thought on “Pear and frangipane tart

  1. Pingback: Tarte amandine « Chronicles of a cookbookworm

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