It doesn't get more classic french then this pear almond tart.  If you have followed me for awhile you know that 2 of my favorite flavors in desserts have either almond paste or custard.  You can easily combine the two ingredients to make frangipane, the ultimate combination.  But for this recipe I stuck to the classic almond cream and poached pears.  This recipe is easy and delicious.  It is a really forgiving recipe that is hard to mess up.  Here is the recipe and I hope you really enjoy this classic pear and almond tart!

Tart Crust (Pate Brisee)

2 sticks of good butter

2 cups of flour plus 3 tbsp.

1/4 cup of water (ice cold)

1 tsp of kosher salt

 

Almond Cream

6 tbsp. of butter (room temp.)

2/3 cup of powder sugar

1 1/2 cup of almond flour

2 tsp of flour

1 tsp of cornstarch

1 large egg plus 1 egg white

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp of almond extract

 

Poached Pears,

4-5 bosc or anjou pears peeled

1/2 cup of white wine

6 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

1 lemon zest and juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 star anise

1 tsp of salt

 

For the Poached pears,

Cut peeled pears in half and take out the cores.  Then place them in a pot with water, sugar, wine, lemon peel and zest, all the spices.  Then take a piece of parchment paper and cut a square.  Then fold it over in half into a triangle and then fold it again diagonally into a smaller triangle.  Then fold two more times continuing the triangle.  Then cut the point of the triangle off and cut around the outer edge to fit the size of the pot. Open the paper up (This is called a Cartouche), the paper should be a round circle that fits inside the pot with a whole in the middle of the paper.  This is basically a lid for the pears so they stay submerged.  Slowly bring the pot to barely simmering.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pears are tender all the way through.  Check them with a cake tester or toothpick.  Cool to room temperature. 

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

For the Almond cream,

Place almond meal and sugar in a food processor and puree for 30 seconds.  Then while the machine is running add the butter a tbsp. at a time.  Once all the butter is in add the eggs again while the machine is running.  You can stop to scrape the sides if there are any clumps but once the eggs have been added you should a really smooth and creamy almond cream.  Finish with both the vanilla and almond extract.  I normally double this recipe which gives me extra laying around that I can make something else with.  But you should have enough to fill the tart with just one batch.  Set aside the almond cream until your tart dough is ready.

For the Tart dough

Using the food processor again add flour to the bowl along with the salt.  Pulse a few times to combine well.  Then turn the processor on and begin to add all the butter a tbsp. at a time.  Once the butter has been combined.  Drizzle in the cold water.  Finish with a few tbsp. of flour if needed.  Normally now you put the crust into the refrigerator to let the dough come together as it gets cold.  I don't like when my dough is so cold I can't roll it and usually I am in a rush.  If you can put the dough in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes it will really help; if not simply take the dough and put a light dusting of flour onto the parchment paper and place the dough on top.  Then dust flour on the top of the dough and put a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. With a rolling pin roll out your dough to a thin crust consistency.  Take your tart mold and carefully place your tart dough inside the mold.  Using a rolling pin roll the pin over the mold to trim off any excess dough.  With a fork prick the dough all over.  Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the tart and add pie weights or dried beans to weight the paper down on top of the tart.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Take out the pie tart and take off the parchment and save the weights for another baking day.

To finish,

Add the almond cream to the tart filling it up almost to the top of the tart.  Take out the pears and slice if desired and place them on top of the almond cream.  Then place back in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Take out and cool to room temperature.  Serve or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  And then enjoy this classic!

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