This recipe represents a marriage between two fond food memories.
Years ago, I attended a cooking school in downtown Seal Beach called La Bonne Cuisine. The lady who ran the school was a gifted cook, a dedicated foodie and a bit edgy. One of the recipes she taught was a frangipane tart. To this day, I remember the otherworldly aroma of that tart just out of the oven. Who knew an almond filling could taste (and smell) so good. I’m still looking for the La Bonne Cuisine recipe and will post it when (and if) I find it.
The other food memory (a recent one) is of my French neighbor’s pear tart. I confess that I had never had a pear tart before but one bite and I was hooked. Apparently pear tarts are a favored French dessert.
Recently, reminiscing about those two wonderful tastes, I found this recipe on the Williams Sonoma site.
This week I found extraordinary pears at the Long Beach Farmers Market and decided to make this tart again.
I think the frangipane filling is at its best served warm, so I would suggest that you permit yourself a generous slice of this tart fresh from the oven. Equally good, you could give a slice a tiny zap in the microwave. I enjoyed my slice–OK my two slices–with a steaming cup of Darjeeling tea.
The tart is delightful. Or, as my French neighbor would say appreciatively, Bon!
Here is my adaptation of the Williams Sonoma recipe:
Recipe: Pear and Frangipane Tart
1 basic recipe for tart dough
2 T. unsalted butter
6 oz. Trader Joe’s almond meal or 1 12 cups raw unblanched whole almonds (finely ground)
2/3 C. sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. rum
1/4 t. salt
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
3 Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered and cored
1/3 C. apricot jam
Press the dough into a tart pan. I found the Williams Sonoma tart dough difficult to roll, so I simply pressed the dough into my tart pan with my fingers. My crust turned out just fine. Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line chilled tart shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, rice or dry beans. Bake for 30 minutes. Pie crust should be a pale gold color. If your shell is not yet gold, cook for five to ten minutes more. Carefully remove foil and weights and cool tart shell on a wire rack.
Put butter in a pan on your stove and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the butter is golden brown. Let butter cool off the stove while you prepare the almond filling.
Put almond meal (or ground almonds), sugar, eggs, almond extract, vanilla extract, rum, salt, and lemon zest into a bowl. Stir and then stir in brown butter. Using a spatula, spread this mixture on the cooled tart shell. Set aside.
Peel and core pears. Slice pears into quarters. Without cutting the pear apart, make 1/8 inch slices into each pear quarter. Press each pear quarter with your hand to slightly fan the slices. Place pear fans on the frangipane filling in your tart and press fans gently so that they are pressed into the filling.
Bake your tart for 40 minutes. The frangipane almond filling should feel firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Put apricot jam into a pan over low heat and heat until jam is liquified. Strain jam and brush jam on top of tart.
Here is the link to Williams Sonoma’s recipe. This link includes a link to the recipe for the tart dough.