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Pear and Frangipane Tart
This is a recipe that may sound quite challenging, but is really fairly easy to make - so impress your family and friends. The recipe below uses a sweet pastry, but a store bought short crust pastry would do just as well, as the real flavour is in the filling.
You will need 225g (8oz) of bought pastry.
- 225g (2 scant cups) plain flour
- 125g (1 stick) firm butter, diced
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 8 teaspoons semi skimmed milk
- 125g (1 stick) softened butter
- 125g (heaping ½ cup) caster sugar
- 150g (1 ½ cups) ground almonds
- 60g (½ cup) plain flour
- 3 medium eggs
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 large dessert pears
- Little icing sugar
- Pastry: put the flour and diced butter into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter lightly into the flour until the consistency resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in the icing sugar. Sprinkle the milk over the top and mix until it comes together to a firm dough. Knead on a floured surface for a few seconds until the texture is smooth. Cover in cling wrap and rest in the kitchen for 15-30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry into a circle large enough to line the base and sides of the dish. Using the rolling pin as a support, lower the circle of pastry into the dish, pressing it gently over the base and into the wall flutes. Trim away excess pastry from the top edge. Transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes (this helps prevent shrinkage of the pastry when it goes into a hot oven).
- Remove the dish from the refrigerator and prick all over the base with a fork. Line with a piece of aluminium foil or greaseproof paper and fill with Le Creuset ceramic baking beans (or dried beans). Bake for 12 minutes at the higher temperature, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 2 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to the lower setting.
- While the pastry is baking make the frangipane filling. Put all the ingredients, except the pears, into a bowl and beat until smooth (or use a food processor and process for 30 seconds). Spread this evenly in the pastry case.
- Peel, quarter and core the pears then cut each quarter into half again. Push these pieces, rounded sides up, into the frangipane making a closely arranged circular pattern.
- Bake at the lower oven setting for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is firm at the centre, and the top a deep golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- To serve, sprinkle the top liberally with sieved icing sugar.