Today I was inspired by my Rifle Paper calendar. We baked these tarts every morning when we had Nook Eatery. Everyone loved these tarts. And everyone wanted the recipe.
This recipe makes 8 individual tarts, or 1 large tart. The addition of pastry creme is not entirely necessary as the frangipane alone will make a delicious filling. The creme however makes the result a little lighter and less cake-like.
These tarts are not quick to make. The pears have to be poached. The pastry needs to rest and chilled once rolled into the tins. The pastry creme must be made in advance. But the crisp buttery pastry with the soft marzipany filling and the sweet rose tinged pears on top is well worth the effort.
1/2 quantity sweet shortcrust pastry recipe here
1/2 quantity pastry creme recipe here
4 poached pears recipe here
110g caster sugar
110g unsalted butter
180g ground almonds
40ml Grand Marnier (no entirely necessary)
To make the frangipane, put the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with a paddle attachment. Mix on a low speed until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add the ground almonds and mix on low speed until combined, then add the liqueur until completely incorporated. Set aside until needed.
Follow the instructions for shortcrust pastry – how to roll out and line tart tins. Set the pastry cases aside in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Blind bake the tart cases for 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Lower the oven to 180°C.
To assemble the tarts, fold the frangipane and 250ml pastry creme together until completely combined, then spoon 2 tablespoons into each of the pastry cases. Slice the poached pears in halve, and then slice the halves to make a fan. Arrange these on top of the tarts and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
The same can be done with peaches and plums when they are in season. You can also replace the vanilla with whole spices – I have made these with the addition of cinnamon stick, star anise, and cardamom pods.
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1kg caster sugar
2 litres water
2 lemons, cut into halves
10 pears, peeled and cored
Add the vanilla bean, sugar, lemon and water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a high heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then reduce the heat to a very slow simmer.
Add the pears to the syrup and cook for about 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a skewer. The poaching time will vary depending on the ripeness of the fruit – for plums and peaches this time may be greatly reduced!
Remove from the heat, allow to cool, and store in the syrup in an airtight container. Refrigerate until needed.