Drunken Pear Frangipane Tart

INGREDIENTS:

Please note that the amounts in the recipe for poached pears are approximate.

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 Tbspn cloves
  • 2 extra ripe Anjou pears
  • 10 firm ripe Seckel pears (4 Bosc pears also work, if Seckels aren’t available)

METHOD:

  1. In a deep medium saucepan, combine the wine, water, and sugar.  Split the vanilla bean; scrape the seeds into the saucepan and add the entire bean.  Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  2. In a food processor, puree the extra ripe Anjou pears.  Strain the puree through a fine sieve into the wine mixture in the saucepan.
  3. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, use a melon baller to remove the center of the seckel pears, starting from the bottom.  Peel each pear.
  5. Once the wine mixture has come to a simmer, add the seckel pears.  Cook at a simmer until done, about 10 minutes, depending on the original firmness of the pears.
  6. Strain the pears from the liquid once they are done and set them on a cooling rack to cool and drain.  Keep the remaining poaching liquid in the refrigerator for future use.

Frangipane tart filling

  • 3/4 cup blanched and slivered almonds
  • 2 tspn AP flour
  • 1 tspn cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 tspn almond extract
  • 1 tspn brandy

METHOD:

  1. n a food processor, combine the almonds and flour.  Grind finely.
  2. Add in sugar, butter, and flavorings.  Blend.
  3. Finally, blend in the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Allow the filling to rest in the refrigerator for two to three hours.

Sweet tart pastry crust
makes enough for a 9″ round tart

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 7 Tbspn cold butter
  • 4 Tbspn sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn water
  • 1/2 Tbspn almond extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend just until a dough begins to form.
  3. Remove from food processor and place the dough on a floured work surface.  Knead gently just until the dough comes together.  Chill if the dough is too warm.
  4. Roll out the pastry or pat down evenly into the bottom of the pan. (The patting works perfectly for this crust.)
  5. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry several times.  Top with a layer of foil or parchment paper and then fill the crust with pie weights.  (I use dried beans–multi-purpose! Don’t waste your money on pie weights.)
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until almost done.  Remove and let cool.

Tart assembly and final baking

  • additional ingredient: apricot jam/preserves

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Spoon the frangipane filling into the baked tart shell and smooth.
  3. Slice the poached pears thinly and arrange on top of the frangipane filling.  The filling will puff up during baking, so keep that in mind when you make your pear arrangements.
  4. Bake the tart for 40-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed and firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until it is liquid.  Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of glaze onto the tart.
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