Pear frangipane tart

This little beauty was one of the crowning glories of my Christmas baking last year.

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Pear. Frangipane. Pastry. Melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness.

What’s more, it is a brilliant stand-by recipe because the ingredients are almost all from the store cupboard – who knew tinned pears could taste so good?

A joy to make and to eat.

Pear frangipane tart

  • Servings: makes a 23cm deep tart, cuts into 10-12 slices
  • Difficulty: needs a little skill and patience
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Ingredients

For the pate sucree
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter, chilled
  • 4 large free-range egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
For the filling
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-5 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 x 410g tins pear halves in fruit juice, drained
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar

Directions

  1. Make the pate sucree. Place the butter between two sheets of baking parchment and pound with a rolling pin until pliable but still cold. Cut the butter into pieces. Sift the flour and salt onto a clean worktop. Make a well in the middle and place into the well the cubed butter, egg yolks, caster sugar, and lemon zest. Mash the ingredients together using the ends of your fingers (make your hand into a beak shape) or a dough scraper. When it looks like coarse crumbs, bring it all together to make a ball of dough. Dust the worktop with flour and gently work the dough, pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand and gathering it up into a ball again. Do this for about 2 minutes, until it is smooth and pliable. Shape into a ball, flatten to a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. While the pastry is chilling, make the frangipane. With an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition and adding some almonds if it starts to curdle. Add the vanilla extract and beat in. Fold in the almonds and flour with a large metal spoon until thoroughly combined.
  3. Dust a worktop with flour and roll out the pastry and use to line a 23cm deep loose-based fluted flan tin. Prick the base of the pastry and trim the edges. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Save any excess pastry for decorations.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190C and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm up.
  5. Spread the apricot jam over the based of the chilled pastry. Spread the frangipane over the top of the jam and smooth with a palette knife. Pat the pears dry with kitchen towel and place on top of the frangipane, pressing them down lightly.
  6. Set the tin on the hot baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Re-roll the pastry trimmings and cut out decorative shapes. Remove the tart from the oven (the frangipane should have puffed up around the fruit) and lay the pastry decorations on top. Scatter over the flaked almonds. Dust with icing sugar.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and return the tart to the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry and filling are golden.
  9. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before carefully removing from the tin to serve. It can be made a day ahead and reheated at 160C for 10-12 minutes, or eaten at room temperature.

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