Pear and Frangipane Tart

These are a firm favourite when holidaying in France, you could use stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines or plums instead of pears if they're in season and ripe.  The video recipe is available on YouTube too.

If you’re short of time use tinned pears and ready made sweet shortcrust pastry.  NB this recipe is not suitable for people with nut allergies

Ingredients: for 1 10-12" tart
Pastry:
225g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
125g sugar
1 egg

Pears:
4  pears
5cm stick cinnamon (approx)
½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla paste
Juice of 1 lemon
250g caster sugar
500ml water
or 400g tin of pears

Frangipane:
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
2 large or 3 medium eggs
100g ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon

Glaze: A little smooth apricot jam

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oc/Gas 4/AGA Baking oven or Roasting oven with plain cold shelf above.
  2. Make the pastry: rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar, stir to mix, add the egg and use a round bladed knife to ‘cut’ and stir into the dry mixture, keep adding until it forms a soft dough.
  4. Grease the tart tin, retrieve the pastry from the fridge and break off lumps of pastry, press these into the greased tart tin with your fingers, spreading out the pastry until the tin is lined, if you have any jagged edges at the top gently roll the excess pastry off with your fingers. This is much less stressful than rolling out the pastry it also means you don’t add any excess flour and the only part of the pastry anyone will see is the top edge. Pop the lined pastry tin into the fridge for 30 minutes
  5. Place a baking tray into the oven to heat up.
  6. If you’re using fresh pears peel them and slice them into quarters and core them, place the cinnamon stick, vanilla, lemon juice, sugar and water into a saucepan and bring this to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the pears, pushing them under the surface to poach for 5-10 minutes until just soft enough for knife to pierce the flesh with just a little resistance, you don’t want them so soft that they break up. If the pears are ripe or you are using tinned pears you can skip this stage.
  7. Make the frangipane: cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or in a mixer until it’s light, fluffy and drops off the end of a spoon easily. Mix in the eggs, ground almonds and lemon zest.
  8. Spoon the frangipane onto the pastry case; spread the mixture to the edge.
  9. Slice the pear quarters into around 5 leaving the thinnest part intact and gently fan the cut edge of the pears out. Place them on the frangipane so that they are arranged in a pretty pattern.
  10. Place the tart directly onto the baking tray (this will help to cook the pastry instead of baking the pastry case blind and cuts down on time) and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the frangipane springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Remove from the tin and brush the top with a little boiled apricot jam to glaze. Serve with cardamom ice cream.