You may have noticed that I am all for shortcuts in cooking – anything that speeds up the process or makes it easier is all right by me. That said, I haven’t caught the ‘slow cooking’ bug yet, but as I’m a classic late adopter, I’d give it a couple more years...
But back to the shortcuts. I came across this recipe for Pear Frangipane Tart in Australian Good Food magazine. It’s by food writer, Lyndey Milan, who quite rightly points out the time usually spent making the pastry and poaching the pears for the tart. So, her solution is to use readymade puff pastry and tinned pears. Sounds good.
A couple of things I noticed: the recipe calls for blanched almonds to be cut in the food processor; it might be easier to use almond meal (ground almonds) instead. The texture of my tart was quite grainy, so almond meal might make it smoother. Also, my taste tester said, when he saw this tart, “Isn’t frangipane tart supposed to have shortcrust pastry?”. Er, that’s right. So using readymade shortcrust pastry instead of puff might also be better (and less likely to burn).
Here’s my effort, anyway!
Pear Frangipane Tart
375g (1 sheet) puff pastry (OR shortcrust pastry)
100g blanched almonds (OR 100g almond meal)
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
800g tinned pear slices
1. Press the defrosted pastry into a 23cm flan tin with removable base. Prick base and sides with fork. Place in freezer for 30 mins. Note: If the pastry sheet does not fit the pan, you may need to roll or stretch it out to fit.
2. Preheat oven to 220 C. Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry base and fill with dried beans, rice or baking weights. Bake pastry for 15 mins.
3. Process almonds and sugar in a food processor. Add butter, egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Spread into tart shell. Place pear slices in an attractive manner on top of the filling.
4. Bake in oven for 30 mins until golden. Cover the top with foil if it looks like it is browning too quickly.
5. Serve warm or cold with thick cream.
Recipe adapted from Australian Good Food magazine (Sept 2008)
I only have a 25cm flan tin, so had to stretch out the pastry a bit...
Alternatively, use 100g ground almonds instead of whole almonds.
I used pear quarters, which are substantial enough not to fall apart when baked.
This shortcut pear tart is moist and delicious, with a very flaky pastry.