Pear and Frangipane Tart
I have to admit that I haven’t done any Christmas baking this yet. And it probably won’t happen until Christmas. Wait, that’s not true. There will be my mom’s Swedish cinnamon buns on Christmas Day and snickerdoodles over the weekend. Usually I am the poster child for Santa’s bakery, if there ever was one. I’ll be cooking Christmas dinner (well late lunch for us) and will be making a sticky toffee pudding cake (F&W Dec 15 issue). Probably because I like saying sticky toffee pudding with the voice of Kermit The Frog or Gollum.
I did bake a few things despite my lack of holiday baking. Mostly cakes and pies that were devoured as fast as they were coming out of the oven. Almost. During our last workshop a couple of weeks ago, it seemed that I could not turn galettes fast enough for dessert for the attendees! I’ve had a hard time resisting fall and winter fruits at the market. Apples, seckel and forelle pears, kumquats, cranberries. They all ended in my basket at some point.
It’s no secret that I do love making (and eating) tarts. I grew up watching my grandmother making loads of them on a regular basis and even more around Christmas time. Her tart fillings were simple and straightforward, always letting the fruit take center stage. Sometimes, there was a supporting actor such as a custard base, lemon curd or frangipane. If I had to choose which one I favor the most, I honestly could not. I love the pillowy softness of a vanilla custard, the acidulous tickle of a lemon curd and the tantalizing taste of an almond filling.
Pears and frangipane go hand in hand like good company and a good meal. They never outplay each other. A classic combination that everyone in my family enjoys. A bit of vanilla bean added to the frangipane never hurts either.
I hope the holidays treat you well and are a source of comforting meals with friends and family.
It’s never easy to find balance this time of year but a slice of pear frangipane tart and a glass of wine might just do that!
Pear & Frangipane Tart
For the tart dough:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or same amount of all purpose flour if not gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk
For the frangipane:
1 stick (115 gr) butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1 cup (100 gr) ground almonds (blanched, slivered, whole, your call)
1/3 cup (60gr) heavy cream
6 to 8 seckel pears, peeled and sliced kept in a large bowl filled with cold water and juice of two lemons
1 tablespoon sugar
For the crust:
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk /milk mixture and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in an 8 or 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready).
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Prepare the frangipane:
Place the butter, honey, ground almonds, and the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth (can also be done in a food processor). Add the cream and stir in it instead of whisking not to emulsify it or it will rise while baking.
Drain the pear slices on a couple of sheets of paper towels. Pour the frangipane over the tart shell, arrange the pear slices on top, sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar and bake 40 to 45 minutes.