With melt in the mouth pastry and a classic flavour combination, this Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart not only looks inviting but also tastes amazing.
Almonds and pears are such a classic combination. They work so beautifully well together. And when the pears are poached lightly in a simple syrup containing vanilla and cinnamon the whole tart really comes alive.
Sometimes called a frangipane tart the finished tart is glazed with a little apricot jam to produce a wonderful sheen to the finished bake.
The flaked almonds provide a lovely contrast of texture and once finished with a glaze of apricot jam the whole bake looks incredibly inviting.
The almond pastry
The pastry case is made from a delicious almond pastry. Adding ground almonds make the pastry melt in the mouth making this one of my favourite pastries to use for sweet tarts. Unlike some rich sweet pastries, which tend to break and crack as you roll them out, this is surprisingly easy to handle.
Cook's Tip: If you do find it difficult to roll out, try rolling out the pastry between 2 sheets of clingfilm or baking parchment.
As with all pastry try not to stretch the pastry as you roll it, Only roll the pastry in a forward motion and keep turning the pastry as you roll it. And make sure you chill the pastry before baking.
The Poached Pears
I've poached the pears in a vanilla and cinnamon flavoured syrup, which works well with the frangipane. If you want you can subtly change the flavour of the tart by poaching the pears in a different flavoured syrup.
Poached pear variations
- Try poaching the pears in white wine or cider for added flavour.
- Replace the cinnamon with a few lightly crushed cardamom pods and a pinch of saffron.
- Short of time? Replace with tinned pears the flavour of the pears won't be quite so special but the tart will still be delicious!
What is Frangipane?
Frangipane is a delicious almond filling used in a variety of bakes. Made from almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and sometimes milk. Depending on the recipe it can vary from an almost custard-like filling to something more like an almond sponge cake.
Indeed the frangipane is made using the creaming method in the same way you would make a Victoria sandwich, substituting the flour with ground almonds. Don't worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled after adding the eggs, this is normal.
Almonds are the classic nuts used in frangipane but you can also make a delicious version with ground hazelnuts.
How long will the tart keep?
The tart will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container or well wrapped in a cool place. You can also keep it in the fridge for a little longer but make sure you bring it up to room temperature before serving.
The tart freezes well for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature.
How to serve the tart
Serve hot or cold. It can be served on it's own or with whipped cream, clotted cream, ice cream or custard.
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Pear and almond tart
- 175 g (6oz) plain flour (all purpose)
- 50 g (2oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 100 g (3½oz) butter cut into cubes
- 1 yolk egg optional
- 2 tbsp water
- 300 ml water
- 250 g (9oz)golden caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod split
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 firm ripe pears
- 125 g butter softened
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g ground almonds (almond flour)
- 2 large eggs
- small handful flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp apricot jam sieved
- 23cm (9in) round fluted flan tin.
To poach the pears
- Pour about 300ml (½pt) water into a saucepan, then add 250g (9oz) sugar, 1 split vanilla pod and 1 cinnamon stick. Heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Peel 2 pears and cut into quarters. Remove the core. Gently place the pear quarters into the pan and poach for 15 minutes or until they feel tender once a sharp knife is inserted. Turn the heat off and allow the pears to cool with the syrup.
To make the pastry case,
- Meanwhile, place 175g (6oz) flour, 50g (2oz) ground almonds and 2 tbsp icing sugar into a mixing bowl with 100g (3½oz) butter. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk, if using and enough cold water (about 2 tbsp or a little more if omitting the egg yolk) to mix to a dough and allow to rest in a cool place for 10 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry and use to a line a 23cm (9in) round fluted flan tin and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)/400ºF/gas mark 6. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the paper and beans and bake for another 10 minutes or until just golden.
Make the frangipane.
- Beat together 125 g (4oz) butter and 125 g (4oz) sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs then fold in 125 g (4oz) ground almonds.
To assemble the tart
- Carefully remove the poached pears from the poaching liquor with a draining spoon and place them on a wire rack to drain for a few minutes.
- Spoon the frangipane filling into the baked pastry case and spread level. Arrange the drained pears on top of the frangipane with the pointed ends pointing towards the centre. There’s no need to push the pears into the frangipane.
- Scatter a few flaked almonds over the tart, moving the almond flakes which land on the pears themselves. Bake. for about 35 minutes until a good golden brown. You may need to rotate the tart after about 20-25 minutes of baking. Remove the tart from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. Use a pastry brush to carefully brush the apricot jam over the surface of the frangipane. Serve warm or cold.