recipe, sweet

French Almond Pear Tart

I live in a box. Rather, I live in numerous boxes. As Ben and I pack up to move (in nine days!!), I realize how temporary homes can be. I will be moving for the fifth time since I first called Montreal my home, and each time I feel like an uprooted tree…

But, of course, I’m sure fresh roots will run deep in this future apartment. I can’t wait to share it with you guys. The landscape of my pictures will change! Speaking of pictures, have you seen these? This tart is absolutely wonderful.

The first time I had this delectable delight was when I was in Paris back in my high-school days for a ten-day trip through France and Italy. It was a trip guided by a brave French teacher and perhaps fifteen students. We had quite an adventure exploring those foreign cities and cultures, but I remember when I first sank my teeth into an almond pear tart.

Buttery flaky shortbread crust, cradling a sweet aromatic almond filling and thick slices of vanilla-poached pears. After making this delicious treat, I can certainly see why it is coveted by the French!

Oh, and don’t shy away from what seems like a long ingredient list. The crust and pears can be made days in advance. It is worth the prep, and will certainly be impressive for house guests!

Pear and Almond Tart

Ingredients:

(crust)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk

(pears)

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 bosc pears, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 vanilla pod (if you have one)

(almond filling)

  • 6 ounces almond paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces (5 tablespoons) of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients just a couple times to mix. Add butter and process until lumpy. Add the egg yolk and pulse just until combined.
  2. Press the crust into a tart pan, but not so hard that you get rid of that delicious crumbly texture. Press just hard enough so that it stays together.
  3. Cover it with plastic and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (best is overnight).
  4. When you’re ready to bake the crust, cover it with aluminum foil and place it in a preheated 350F oven for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, begin to prepare your pears. Bring your water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil. Add the pears and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until stabbing the pears with a fork doesn’t offer too much resistance. Keep them in the fridge in the syrup until you’re ready to add them to the tart. Can be made 1-3 days ahead.
  6. For the almond filling, whirl all ingredients in your food processor until well-mixed.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the pears cross wise if desired, and remove the seeds and pits.
  8. Pour the almond filling into the baked pie crust. Lay the pears on top of the filling. It’s okay if it gets sticky, the filling is runny!
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the almond filling turns a beautiful golden colour. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe adapted from this one.