Pear Frangipane Tart

Classic like a little black dress, you can never go wrong with frangipane. Here she is again in a delectable tart with some fragrant poached pears.

Ingredients

Dough : 

240g plain flour

70g caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt

155g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon iced water, if needed

Frangipane : 

115g unsalted butter, softened

115g caster sugar

175g ground almonds

3 eggs

50g marzipan

50g plain flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp rum/ Frangelico liqueur

Pears : 

3 large, unripe pears

1 litre cold water

400g sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1 star anise

1 tbsp vanilla

juice of half a lemon 

Glaze : 

15g butter

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp poaching liquid

icing sugar, to dust,

Directions

Pears. Place all ingredients except the pears in a saucepan. Peel the pears and use a melon baller to remove the core from the base, leaving them whole. Place in the water and bring to a very gentle simmer. Allow to gently cook for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave them to cool in the water with the lid on. They should still be firm when you turn the heat off – remember they will continue cooking in the residual heat so don’t overdo it.

Dough. In a food processor, blitz the flour, sugar and salt to remove lumps. Add the butter and process until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and process until the mixture begins to form together. You will not see it come together into one ball inside the bowl of the food processor, but if you squeeze it in your hand and it stays together, it’s ready. Add a tablespoon of iced water if necessary. Tip out onto a clean work surface. Gently and briefly knead together to form the dough into a circle. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

On a clean, floured work surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 cm thick. Line the tart tin, and pressing tightly into the grooves and corners. Leave the edges long and overhanging. The dough will shrink while it cooks so it’s better to trim it afterwards with a vegetable peeler. Once lined, allow to rest for 30 minutes. Cover with parchment paper, fill with baking beans and bake at 190°C for about 25 minutes, until golden at edges. Remove baking beans and parchment, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Once cool, trim the edges.

Frangipane. If making your own ground almonds toast them on a baking tray at 140°C for about 15 minutes, and allow to cool before grinding in a food processor. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I do this in the food processor that I used to grind the almonds.   Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour and almonds, and finally the lemon zest and rum or Frangelico.

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