poached pear frangipane tart

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I love almonds.  I welcome them in nearly everything – in salads, cookies, pestos, granola, butter – anywhere and everywhere a nut could go and beyond.  Because of this obsession, when I discovered frangipane, I was in love.  Frangipane is a filling made from or flavored like almonds, created of course by the masters of pastry – the French.  You may have {if you are lucky} come across this delicious filling before in an almond croissant.

This tart was the first thing I made from the Tartine Cookbook, and I was not disappointed.  The book included two versions for frangipane – one that was more complex and involved making a pastry cream, and one that was much simpler – I went with the simpler version.  Sliced almonds are pulverized to a dust in the food processor, and then mixed with butter, eggs and sugar to form a paste that transforms into a puffy, golden brown, almond-flavored filling when baked.  Layered on top of the frangipane are vanilla and cinnamon poached pears, which could not have been simpler to make.  A perfect winter tart.

Recipe continued after the jump…

Recipes

Frangipane Tart

From the Tartine Cookbook 

  • Unbaked Flaky Tart Dough tart shell {recipe follows}
  • Frangipane Cream {recipe follows}
  • Poached pears {recipe follows}

Have the tart shell ready {you could easily use pre made pie crust instead}, forming it into the shape of the tart pan you are using {make sure it has a removable bottom} and then placing the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.  Preheat oven to 375°F.

Fill the tart shell with the frangipane cream, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.  Arrange the fruit on top.  Bake the tart until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, around 60 to 80 minutes.  {The frangipane will puff up while baking and may overflow a bit from the tart pan}.  The filling should feel firm and slightly springy to the touch and the fruit should be tender.  Transfer the tart to a wire rack and let cool until warm.  To unmold, use a wide metal spatula to lift the tart onto a surface slightly smaller in shape than the tart pan.  The tart pan will fall away.

Frangipane Cream

Adapted slightly from the Tartine Cookbook

  • 2 c. sliced almonds
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter {at room temperature}
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy {optional}
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, cream or half and half

In a food processor, combine the almonds with 1/4 c. of the sugar and process until finely ground.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.  Add the remaining 3/4 c. sugar and mix to incorporate.  Add the almond-sugar mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.  Add the salt, brandy {if using} and one egg and mix until incorporated.  Add the remaining egg and the milk/cream/half and half and mix until light and fluffy.

Flaky Tart Dough

From the Tartine Cookbook

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2/3 c. water {very cold}
  • 3 c. plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 c. plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter {very cold}

In small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve.  Keep very cold until ready to use {I put it in the freezer}.

To make the dough in a food processor:  Put the flour in the work bowl.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour.  Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas.  Add the water and salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth.  You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

To make the dough by hand {I used this method}:  Put the flour in a mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour.  Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas.  Drizzle in the water and salt mixture and stir and toss with a fork until the dough begins to come together in a shaggy mass.  Gently mix until the dough comes together into a ball but is not completely smooth.  You should still be able to see some butter chunks.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1-inch thick.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to overnight.

To line a tart pan or pie dish, place a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions.  Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough from becoming warm.  Lightly dust the work service with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking.  If lining a pie dish, cut out a circle 2 inches larger than the dish.  If lining a tart pan with a removable bottom, cut out a circle 1 1/2 inches larger than the dish.  Carefully transfer the round to the pie dish or tart pan {fold it in half or into quarters to simplify the transfer if necessary}, easing it into the bottom and sides and then pressing gently into place.  Trim the dough even with the rim of the pan with a sharp knife.

For recipes that call for unbaked shells, refrigerate until ready to use.  If refrigerating overnight, cover the shell with plastic wrap.

Poached Pears

  • 4 Bosc pears, halved and cored
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Mix sugar and water in a large heavy-bottomed pot.  Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely.  Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.  Carefully slide in pears.  Simmer until pears are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let pears cool completely in liquid.  Once cool, remove pears from liquid carefully using a spider or slotted spoon and place on rack to drain.

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Thank you so much for reading!

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16 Responses to poached pear frangipane tart

  1. Francesca says:

    I really admire your baking skills. This is just a sweet masterpiece and the taste must be divine! The picture are simply beautiful.

  2. daryouchka says:

    Magnifique! I love that you only cut the pears in halves, so you still get the delightful melting texture of the pear when eating the tart… and frangipane tarts are probably my favorite dessert. Ever. Any fruit on top is fine. But the frangipane…

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      I am still very much new to frangipane, but I can see it soon becoming one of my favorites as well. I would love to try making it again in the spring/summer with fresh berries. Yum!

  3. pears, brandy, almonds oh my…sounds just devine…beautiful post…now i’m wanting your tart pan, so lovely…sarah

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Sarah! The tart pan is something I picked up from Sur la Table for about $18 (I think). I like the rectangle – think it would be fun for a quiche with whole asparagus spears.

  4. ladyredspecs says:

    Gorgeous as always! If you love frangipane, google Stephanie Alexander’s Almond Tart. It takes frangipane to a whole new level!

  5. Karen says:

    Your tart is absolutely beautiful. Thank goodness it is almost time for dinner as your lovely photos have made me very hungry.

  6. Gorgeous tart. I also love the fact that you used a rectangle tart pan. I am having oatmeal for breakfast but would prefer this instead.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Bam! I was just talking to someone the other day about how I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but how I LOVE tarts and sweets for breakfast. For me, this was the perfect breakfast pastry! 🙂

  7. We’ve been meaning to bake with pears forever. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Anne says:

    Lindsay, that is absolutely gorgeous! Man, William-Sonoma was having a sale on their bakeware a few days ago. I should have picked up one of these rectangle tart pans. My sister did. I’ll have to forward this recipe on to her. Thanks for sharing –this is is just beautiful!

  9. Pingback: lemon bars on “brown butter” shortbread « { fleur de sel }

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