As a pastry student and an avid baking blogger and blog reader, I’m constantly looking to enrich my knowledge on the basics. At the root of all truly great desserts lie the basic techniques and recipes that, once truly understood and mastered, allow for application in the most creative ways possible. The lovely recipe I’m thrilled to be sharing today is a rich and nutty Frangipane Tart with Amaretto & Honey Poached Pears. And, while the assembled dessert may look extravagant, it’s actually relatively simple in that it is composed of three basic techniques or mini-recipes that can be used over and over again and adapted to fit into many of your existing favorite and future dessert recipes.
The rustic beauty of this special dish makes it a perfect option for a Sukkot dessert and the fact that it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature makes it even more irresistible. The parve shortcrust recipe, however, is the type of “go-to” basic that will easily become a household favorite. Contrary to other pie or tart shell recipes, both with butter or dairy-free, this sucree (pastry) can be rolled and maneuvered with the greatest of ease and bakes up to a golden brown finish that is sweetly delicious.
Above the crisp, melt-in-your mouth shortcrust is the rich frangipane filling. Frangipane is a decadent, moist, almost cake-like almond filling that is widely used in many French pastries, pies, cakes, and tarts. Once you’ve made it once, you’ll fall in love with the simplicity of the recipe, the versatility of its’ uses, and the divinity of the flavor and texture of the finished product. My favorite way to serve frangipane is as described in this tart recipe, made complete with a glistening brush of honey-amaretto syrup and a sprinkle of crunchy toasted almond slices.
There’s something strangely beautiful about the blackened curve of each of the pear stems arched towards the glistening surface of the almond-speckled golden brown tart, so be sure to choose fresh, ripe pears with their full stems in tact. Larger Bosc pears can be trimmed down to fit comfortably into the tart, while smaller, sweet Bartlett pears need only be peeled and cored before being poached and arranged nicely into the shell. Smaller pears also work wonderfully when placed in a circle and baked into an eight- or nine-inch round frangipane tart to serve a smaller crowd. Even simpler yet, use the poached pear recipe and techniques described, adding an extra 10 or so minutes to the poaching time, and you’ve got an easy, delicious, stand-alone dessert of poached pears like your guests have never had them.
There you have it! Sweet shortcrust, almond-y decadent frangipane filling, and honeyed pears poached to tender-crisp perfection… three fantastic, complimentary components to make up one incredible dish. By giving this terrific tart a try, you’ll not only create a tasty treat for your loved ones, but you’ll be introducing yourself to some great dessert basics that can be enjoyed for seasons to come. Happy Sukkot!