This is a simple and delicious traditional type of tart that is perfect for people who are not really fond of desserts that are overly sweet.
The combination of a rich frangipane type of filling, a crisp crust and buttery textured poached pears are just wonderful together. Tinned pears are actually perfect in this, but do dry them off very well before using.
It's also the perfect tart to use stoned fruits with . . . cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots . . . all go equally as well. Just make sure they are very ripe. You can also use poached pieces of apple and quince.
I like to bake this tart with the bottom of the tart ring removed, so that the bottom of the crust lies directly on the baking sheet. This ensures a crisp bottom. The filling is quite moist and I find that the crust doesn't crisp up as much as I would like if I keep the bottom in the tart tin. The contact of the bottom of the crust with the baking sheet conducts the heat much better. Don't worry about anything leaking. It just won't happen.
It's really quite easy and not at all complicated. It just looks that way! They'll think you slaved all day over it!
It can be our little secret!!
*Pear and Almond Tart*
This is a delicious pear tart that is not overly sweet. A classic tart that works well with other fruits also. You can use peaches, cherries, apricots or berries as well quite successfully. (Raspberries are really wonderful this way.) Sliced apples and quince also work very well.
enough flaky pastry to line a 9 inch tart tin
(your own or ready made)
for the almond cream:
200g of sliced almonds (2 cups)
200g of caster sugar (1 cup)
7 ounces butter, room temperature (3/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
4 tsp brandy (optional)
2 large free range eggs
2 TBS whole milk
You will also need:
a tin of pear halves in juice, drained well
(You'll need 6 to 8 halves, depending on the size of the pears)
3 TBS apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 190*C/ 375*F/ gas mark 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner. Place the ring to a 9 inch tart pan, with a removable bottom, on the paper. (This tart works out best when you use only the ring, and not the bottom. Due to the moistness of the filling the pastry browns nicer on the bottom when you do this.)
Roll out your pastry to fit into the ring and place it into the ring, trimming as necessary. Chill while you make the almond cream.
Combine the almonds with 50g of the sugar (1/4 cup) in a food processor. Process until finely ground. Set aside. Beat the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the remaining 150g (3/4 cup) of sugar and mix to incorporate. Add the almond/sugar mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, brandy (if using) and 1 egg. Mix thoroughly. Add the remaining egg and the milk and mix until light and fluffy.
Fill the tart shell with the almond cream, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Arrange the fruit attractively on top. Bake in the heated oven until the crust is golden brown and the filing is set, about an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half. The filling should be firm and spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack.
Warm the jam in a small saucepan over low heat, just until it is liquid. Press it through a sieve to make a glaze. Brush the warm glaze over the fruit tart right away while it is still hot.
Allow the tart to cool completely before unmolding. Serve at room temperature.
A dollop of clotted cream goes very well!