This is an absolutely gorgeous dessert. While it’s very pretty with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, the original browned filling looks like toasted marshmallows! But be warned it will take a good six hours and plenty of fridge space to make. There is much chilling and letting come to room temperature, but the pay off was well worth it! With a buttery crumbly crust, a rich creamy filling, and soft almost melty pears, I’ll definitely make this over and over again. Luckily, much of it can be made in advance.
The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, but I’ve reduced the sugar and butter in a few places. Due to my smaller tart tin, I’ve also reduced the number of pears from 3-2, but even then I had to shorten my pears. There is quite a bit of tart dough left over that you can save to patch other tarts, but you can also make a good-sized hand pie. 😀
Pear Almond Tart
ADAPTED from Smitten Kitchen
MAKES 1 8 or 9 inch tart
NOTES: Don’t be worried if the filling seems a little sparse. It will puff while baking. If you can’t find slivered almonds or don’t have a food processor, you can use almond meal. See my Bakewell tart for instructions.
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 to 2 grams) table salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces or 113 grams) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
4 cups (950 ml) water
1 cups (200 grams) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 medium-size firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled (each about 7 ounces or 200 grams)
2/3 cup (75 grams) blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
5 tablespoons (90 grams) sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
First, make the crust by combining the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter into you have pea-sized chunks of dough and finally incorporate the egg yolk. The dough will be a little crumbly, but it will firm up after two hours in the fridge.
Meanwhile, make the almond filling. In a food processor or “dry” blender, combine the almonds and flour and pulse until you have almond meal. Add the sugar and pulse again. Then add the butter, pulse. Pulse. Egg. Pulse until creamy. Scoop into a bowl and press saran wrap against the filling. If you don’t, it will form a skin. Refrigerate for three hours.
If you don’t have slivered almonds, I’ve had success using the equivalent amount of almond meal. Just omit the flour. If you live in a moist area, it’s a good idea to sift the meal first.
After making the crust and filling, it’s time to poach the pears! In a medium saucepan, mix one cup of sugar with four cups of water and the juice of one lemon. As the sugar syrup comes to a boil, peel the pears. Poach them between 20 to 30 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a knife. Transfer to another bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, stem and halve the pears. Scoop out the centers and thinly slice the pears width-wise.
Has it been two hours? It has! It’s time to take out your tart dough and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Then roll it out and press it into the tin. Butter a piece of foil and wrap the tart tightly. Freeze for thirty minutes. While you wait, preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Bake the tart 25 minutes wrapped and ten minutes unwrapped. As always when using a toaster oven, rotate the pan periodically and keep a close eye on the crust. Let the crust cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Once the crust is cool, scoop the filling into the tart. Using a spatula, gently transfer the cut pear halves to the tart and arrange them in a cross or x-shape with the widest parts facing outwards. Bake for an hour, but rotate after half an hour. Around the 45 minute mark, start watching it like a hawk. It is done when the tart is an attractive golden color and the tester comes out clean.
Allow the tart to completely cool and then dust with powdered sugar.