Monday, January 7, 2008

French Pear and Almond Tart

French Pear and Almond Tart

When flipping through my copy of Baking, I discovered this recipe for a very French, very classic, pear and almond cream tart. Upon reading the recipe, I was just as surprised as Dorie was to learn that canned pears most often used for these tarts (*gasp*). Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against canned pears (Steven's mom makes the best ones); it just goes to show that delicious and elegant desserts can be made with simple and convenient ingredients. The beauty of this recipe is it's flexibility - it can be made with canned pears, poached pears, or fresh pears. I chose to poach some perfectly firm but ripe Bartlett pears. I'm a sucker for almond flavoring so I added a little almond extract to the almond cream because mmm... mmm... I love the smell of almond extract *takes one last whiff*.

- Make sure your pears are small enough to fit in your tart pan. If your tart pan is 9 inches, your pears should be no larger than 4 inches tall. My pears were too large and I could only fit 4 pear halves on my tart, (actually I probably could have fit 5 halves when thinking about it in retrospect).
- A fun little article written by Dorie Greenspan: When French Women Bake.

French Pear and Almond Cream Tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking

6 canned pear halves or 3 small, firm but ripe pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou

Optional Poaching Liquid
3 C water
3/4 C sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Frangipane/Almond Cream
3/4 stick/6 Tbsp unsalted room temperature butter
2/3 C sugar
3/4 C ground blanched almonds
2 tsp AP flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

1 9 inch tart shell partially baked and cooled (I used an 8 inch)

Tart baking instructions:
Bake the crust at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes lined with foil and weighted down with pie weights, beans, or pennies, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the tart pan, keeping the crust in the pan, and cool the crust until it is room temperature.

Optional Poaching Step:
Combine all the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a saucepan, that is just large enough to hold the pears, and bring the liquid to a boil. Meanwhile peel the pears but leave them whole.

Add the pears to the boiling syrup and lower the heat to a simmer. Poach the pears until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.

Cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup. Reserve about 3/4 C of the liquid. You can discard the remaining syrup or save it, for up to a week, to poach more pears. I like to boil it down to a thick syrup and add it to tea.

In a bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, and cornstarch. Process the butter with the sugar in the food processor then add the dry ingredients and process until smooth. Then add the extracts and egg and blend until smooth. The cream can also be made with a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer. The almond cream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or you can freeze it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you are using fresh unpoached pears, peel and core them. Rub them with fresh lemon juice and then pat them dry. If you are using canned pears, pat them dry.

If you are using poached pears, cut them in half and core them, and pat dry.

Slice each pear half crosswise into thin slices.

Spread the almond cream evenly in the tart crust. Lift the sliced pear half with a spatula, gently press down on it to fan it out, and lay it on the almond cream. The skinny part of the pear should face in. Repeat with the other 5 pear halves. The 6 pear halves will form spokes. Optional: decorate the tart with some almond slices.

Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream is puffy and brown. After baking let it cool until it is warm or room temperature to serve.

Meanwhile, simmer the pear syrup until it has thickened into a glaze. Reserve this to brush on the tart before serving.


Veron said...

Oh, yum! I love almond cream. I have not made any tarts with pear yet... and I love pears!

Mandy said...

what an elegant tart! I too saw the recipe but was too lazy to poach pears. I wish I can help myself to a piece of your tart.

Susan @ SGCC said...

What a beautiful tart! It is art! Dorie would be proud.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Such a lovely tart! If I saw it in a pastry shop, I'd buy it in a minute.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amy, this is fantastic! I love pears and love almonds... Gotta try this!

One Food Guy said...

That is one fine looking tart; I can only imagine how great it tastes! Umm, no...that's not drool :)

Anonymous said...

That is one of the most beautiful tarts I have ever seen....

I love the combo of pear and almonds, thought I am always a little nervous in making things like this!

Paola Westbeek said...

That is a lovely tart! Last year when I went to France, one of the first things we bought ourselves was a fantastic pear tart. It was SO good and SO French!

That was a very funny, and very eye opening article, btw. Thanks. I really enjoyed reading it!


Bettina said...

OMG! you make the most gorgeous tarts!! i love tarts! :D

Cheryl said...

That looks so lovely. Like the perfect dessert for a nice afternoon tea.

Katie said...

The tart looks gorgeous and I love the almond addition to the pears - yum!

Anonymous said...

I hope my wife can handle this! I copied the recipe and emailed it to her office so whe will (hopefully) get the hint.

Thanks for great recipe and photo.

Helene said...

Ah well now you know my secret! I love making my own crust and Dorie's recipe is great but when back home, I thoroughly enjoy the packaged ones, they are excellent. The tart is gorgeous!

Brilynn said...

This is one of the few Baking recipes I haven't made yet, beautifully done!

Stef said...

That is gorgeous!

Julie said...

Truly a work of art...a delicious work of art.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Truly elegant.

test it comm said...

That looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Well you've passed the "gasp factor" on to me, because I also didn't realize that canned pears were usually used for elegant looking desserts like this! I mean, I knew it was possible, just not the norm.

Almond extract does have a lovely smell. Back in my soap making days (yes, I used to make my own soap) my favorite one was an almond scented soap made with goats milk. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Finla said...

Oh love this. Must have tasted super delicious

Peabody said...

Gorgeous tart. I love these because the presentation is always so lovely.

Anonymous said...

made this tart for was super delicious.
Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

I love almond cream and pears too! It's such a tasty combination.

Thank you! I had a little extra time over the weekend but you can definitely make it with fresh pears too.

Aw thank you! I <3 Dorie.

You're always so sweet. :) I would make you a tart anyday.

Thank you! Let me know when you do.

One food guy,
Lol, thank you!

Aw that's so sweet. You should definitely try this recipe though, Dorie's recipes are fabulous, always super easy to follow.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the article. :)

Aw thanks! :) I do miss sharing them with you though. :(

Thank you!

Almond cream and pears are so yummy together.

Anytime! :)

The cat's out of the bag! Hehehe. ;)

Aw thank you! Can't go wrong with a Dorie recipe right? :)


Thanks so much.



Omg almond extract in soap? YUM

Happy Cook,
It was delicious. :)

I totally agree, I love the presentation of the pear halves. I do wish I could have fit all 6 pear halves and fanned them out a little more. I'll have to get a bigger tart pan or something. :)

Oh I'm so happy to hear! :)

Anonymous said...

I can handle it alright.

What I am having trouble with is my husband's horrid breath. Hopefully that situation will change when the rest of his teeth are removed.

I'll make the tart then. It looks too good to eat!

Cookie2 said...

I made this, is cooling now. This is the first tart I have ever made of this type (frangipane). I am taking it to a friend's house tomorrow but I am worried that it didn't come out right. What is the texture of the tart supposed to be like? I let it bake for 48 minutes and it was quite brown...I am afraid it might have dried out.

Amy said...

The almond cream will puff up around the pears and get brown. I'm sure it's fine if you pulled it out early since baking times often vary depending on ovens and tart pan size. Let me know how it turns out.

Cookie2 said...

Thanks Amy-it was great. Delicious, rich taste and it even cut well, which always helps. Great recipe.

amna said...

loved this tart.. its so pretty and u have photographed it so beautifully. just spent over 2 hours going through ur blog :)

AmyRuth said...

Woo Hoo, I know its been a while since this post... with re: to poaching would it be advantageous to put a little amaretto and or small amount of nutmeg in the poaching liquid?

Thank you and Happy 2009

Amy said...


That sounds amazing! I would definitely go for it! Lemme know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are wonderful - the tart is a winner in my house, too.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin