So, let's get to it and bake!
Pear and Blackberry Frangipane Tart Yum
Yield: 1 x 23cm tart
Serves: 8 generous slice
Freezable: Sorry, untested
Time: 50 minutes hands on; about 60 minutes total bake time; plus cooling time
You will need:
1 x 23cm Flan Tin, with fluted sides with a loose bottom
1 x Baking Tray
Paring Knife / Small Sharp Knife
1 x disposable Piping Bag
Baking Beans (or uncooked rice)
For the Sweet Pasty
225g Plain Flour
100g Unsalted Butter, chilled & diced
50g Icing Sugar
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. cold Water
For the Frangipane
125g Unsalted Butter, softened
60g Golden Caster Sugar
65g Caster Sugar
3 medium Eggs, lightly beaten
½ tsp Almond Extract
125g Ground Almonds
For the Fruit
2 medium conference pears, of similar size
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 lemon, zest & juice
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp boiling water
Apricot jam thinned with a little water
Flaked Almonds, toasted
How to make it:
1. Start by poaching the pears. Set 12 blackberries aside for the flan. Place the blackberries and lemon zest into a large pan and half fill with water. Add the sugar and place on the hob and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat so that the mixture is not even simmering. Meanwhile, thinly peal the pears. Halve the pears, then remove the core and stalk with a paring knife and tea spoon. Place the pears into the blackberry liquor with the cut side uppermost once the sugar has dissolved. Half cover the pan with a lid and allow to cook for 20 - 30 minutes until the pears are tender when a skewer or cocktail stick is inserted. Carefully remove the pears from the pan, placing them on a large plate to cool. Once the pears have cooled, gently remove any blackberry residue from the fruit. Place on a sheet of absorbent kitchen roll, cover and set aside.
2. Make the blackberry jam. Increase the heat under the blackberry mixture allowing the liquid to reduce in volume. Stir regularly. Add the juice from half of the lemon and stir. Once the blackberry liquid has reduced to a quarter of its original volume, place a spoonful of the mixture onto a chilled tea plate. Place the tea plate in the fridge and remove the blackberry mixture from the heat. After a couple of minutes, remove the blackberry sample from the fridge and test to see if the 'jam' is ready. Run your little finger along the plate to touch the mixture, if the mixture crinkles as you touch it the jam is ready. If not, cook the mixture for a little longer and re-test in the same way. Once the mixture is ready, pour into a bowl and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Place the flour, icing sugar and cubed chilled butter into a good sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar between your thumb and finger tips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add the beaten egg. Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough. You may need to add a little cold water to fully bring the mixture together. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Shape the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
4. Line the flan tin. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry out until it is nice and thin, about 2mm. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin, lift it up (using the pin) and place into the flan tin. Gently tease the pastry into the case so that it sits into the edges well and picks up the shape of the fluted sides. If the pastry tears, patch it with surplus pastry. If the pastry over hangs the sides of the flan tin excessively, use a pair of clean scissors to trim off some of the excess. Use a fork to gently prick the pastry base. Place into the fridge to chill for about 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Make the frangipane. Put the softened butter and sugars into a bowl and beat, with either an electric hand held beater or wooden spoon, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the almond extract to the lightly beaten eggs and mix. Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture a third at a time, beating well after each addition. Sieve the ground almonds into the mixture. Fold the almonds in gently using a spatula or large metal spoon. Cover and set aside.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 190c / 170 fan / Gas 5. Place a baking tray onto the middle shelf which is large enough to house the flan tin.
7. Blind bake the pastry. Remove the lined flan tin from the fridge and trim off the excess pastry from the pastry case with a sharp knife. Cut a sheet of grease proof paper large enough to cover the flan tin. Scrunch it up and open it out. Gently lay it on top of the pastry, easing it into the edges. Weigh the paper down with baking beans or uncooked rice. Place into the oven (on the heated baking tray) and cook for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes, remove the baking beans and grease proof paper and cook for a further 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Keep the baking tray in the oven and leave the oven on at the same heat.
8. Prepare the pears. If your pears are longer than the radius of the flan you will need to curve the pears as you lay them onto the frangipane. If they are not too long, you can lay them in straight, pointing to the centre. For long pears, place the pears cut side down onto the work surface and make 6 deep cuts through the pear. For the shorter pear make the 6 slashes, but cutting only half way through the fruit.
9. Fill the pastry flan. Once the pastry has cooled, place 2 tablespoons of the blackberry jam onto the pastry base. Use the underside of a teaspoon to spread it out. Fill a piping bag (no nozzle required) with the frangipane mixture and pipe over the jam (this will prevent the jam from being disturbed). Use another teaspoon to gently smooth out the frangipane if necessary. Using an off set pallet knife (or spatula) lift a pear and lay it on top of the frangipane, with the rounded end butting to the pastry edge and the pointed end into the centre. If your pears are long, encourage them to create a curve though still pointing to the centre. Place the remaining 3 pears in the same way aiming for an equal distance between each of them. Place 3 blackberries between each pear. Avoid pushing the fruit into the frangipane.
10. Bake the frangipane. Place the flan tin into the oven (on the preheated baking tray) and bake for 35 - 45 minutes. You may need to rotate the tart after 25 minutes of baking. The tart is ready when the sponge is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
11. Glaze the fruit. Mix the sugar with the boiling water in a cup. Once the sugar has dissolved, use a pastry brush to glaze the pears. Alternatively you may prefer to use a little watered down sieved apricot jam for this.
Enjoy served with some fresh whipped cream and toasted flaked almonds. Beautiful warm or cold.