French Pear Tart
While all aspects of French gastronomy are world renowned, it is the wide variety of wonderful baked goods and pastries that really stand out. From napoleons to petits fours, from cakes to tarts, the French have mastered the art of baking. Frangipane, a sweet almond-flavored pastry cream, sets off this tart’s buttery pastry and slices of fresh pear.
3 firm ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears
1/4 C all-purpose flour, additional for dusting
Pinch of salt
4 T super-fine sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, soft
3 egg yolks
3-4 drops vanilla extract
1 T cold water
1/3 C unsalted butter
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C ground almonds
1 1/2 T flour
2 drops almond extract
1/4 C apricot jam
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Sift together flour and salt; make a well in the middle. Put sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla into well; work together gently to form a paste, adding water to make soft, firm dough. Cover and chill for 2 hours then roll out gently on a lightly floured surface to cover 9″ fluted quiche pan. Press dough circle firmly into pan, cut off excess and prick pastry. Place in refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. Line dough with parchment or foil and fill with baking beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Lower temperature to 375°F (190°C); remove beans and paper and bake for 5 minutes until golden. Cool on wire rack.
Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, ground almonds, flour and extract; combine.
Fill pastry shell with frangipane. Peel, core and slice pears, arranging slices in a pattern on top of frangipane. Bake at 350°F (176°C) for 30-40 minutes or until the pears are tender and lightly browned.
Melt jam in a saucepan. Add lemon juice and stir. Push mixture through a sieve then brush glaze over tart. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top.