This pear tart is an example of European-style pastry at its best. The filling is a rich and seductive almond paste known as Frangipane. Its name comes from the Italian expression frangere il pane, meaning "break the bread". The pears in this tart beautifully soak up the sweet syrup.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 8-10 ServingsServings
For the sweet crust
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
For the frangipane
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter or margarine
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the poached pears
- 4 cups water
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 5 pears, peeled (keep stems attached)
For the apricot glaze
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon water
For the decoration
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1. Cream butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Incorporate confectioners’ sugar and salt and mix well.
2. Add egg yolks, one at a time mixing well after each addition, and then add the water.
3. Sift flour and mix until incorporated. Turn out dough onto a lihtly floured surface and knead until the dough just comes together.
4.Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Cream the butter at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Reduce speed to low and add sugar and ground almonds until combined. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, followed by the flour and beat until mixture is smooth. Pour frangipane into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Use immediately or keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
6. Dissolve sugar in cold water in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk.
7. Place peeled pears in sugar water syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and place a round piece of parchment paper over the pears.
8. Allow pears to simmer until tender when tested with a knife, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup.
9. Preheat oven to 375°F.
10. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to an ⅛-inch thickness. Press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the base all over with a fork. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with dry beans.
11. Cut off top halves of pears, being careful to keep them intact as they will decorate top of the tart. Core the bottom halves and cut into cubes.
12. Scatter the pear cubes on unbaked crust and cover with the frangipane.
13. Arrange the five pear tops on the tart .
14. Bake for approximately 40 to 50 minutes until tart is puffed and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
15. Place apricot jam and water in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until jam is melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.
16. Brush tart with apricot glaze and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Source: And Then There Was Cake from the Hebrew Academy of Montreal. Copies can be ordered at HA-Cookbook.com or by calling 514-489-5321.