Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pear Frangipane Tart - shortcut without shortcrust

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
serves 6

375g (1 sheet) puff pastry (OR shortcrust pastry)
100g blanched almonds (OR 100g almond meal)
100g caster sugar
100g butter
1 egg
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. 


  1. Ahh too true about the poaching of the pears and the pastry but interesting about not using the almond meal (which would have been one of the first things I would have wanted to fast track as my food processor is about an effective as a blunt knife :P )

  2. Belle this looks wonderful! Your blog is brilliant. I love it that you incorporate your beautiful craft work in as well. It's combining my two passions in one! Please keep up the wonderful work. It is truly appreciated by so many of us. Thankyou! Your work provides me with the inspiration I need to eat again after being sick for too long. Please give your beautiful Tabitha a squeeze from me x

  3. Hmm yes I agree with Lorraine that it is strange that the recipe doesn't use almond meal. The shortcuts it does use appear to work marvellously though, looks pearific (groan, I know).

  4. I'm all for shortcuts as long as it doesn't compromise on taste. Some of my noted dinner party successes have involved shortcuts!

  5. oh that looks so delicious! I could do with a slice of that right now!

  6. I am with you about the pastry. I am no baker and so stuff like pastry is usually store bought. I actually like the look of your pie!

  7. This tart looks so delicious - I like the idea of using the puff pastry to save on time. I could definitely do with a slice of this now :)

  8. That looks great! Very strange that they recipe didn't use almond meal, especially since it's so readily available in Australia! Love the idea of using tinned pears

  9. It's odd that the recipe goes on about the issues of time and substitutions for shortcuts when they have you process your own almonds.

    Nice work with the tart. Looks like it would have been a treat :)

  10. The tart is so rustic. I bet it was delicious. I am all for shortcuts. Its my middle name.

  11. Belle, oh my, how I never tire of seeing your wonderful creations! Thank you for the eye candy and the instructions and photos! Beautiful turnout even with shortcuts!! You continue to inspire and make me HUNGRY daily!

  12. i'm a big fan of shortcuts when it comes to baking :) and well, if it does exactly the same thing, why do things the hard way :)

  13. Hi belle
    In france we call it " tarte Bourdaloue" !! and yoyurs is a wcrumptious version of it !
    cheers from Paris Pierre

  14. OR, you could just do away with the pastry completely and call it a friand instead ;) See, I'm all for short cuts some times too!

  15. Tinned pears is a nice quick idea, and I think you're right that almond meal makes sense here.

  16. that looks pretty tempting, I love the fact that you cant see the little pear bums poking out of the frangipane, so adorable

  17. hi Lorraine (NQN) - I'm surprised you don't have a decent food processor. Though all I use is a hand blender with a bowl attachment...

    hi Kate - thanks for visiting so often. I really hope you are better and anything I can do to help, I will!

    hi Conor - yes, I would imagine the tart would be less 'pear-shaped' if almond meal was used.. ;)

    hi mlle delicieuse - I figure, if no one knows about the shortcuts and they taste good, then it's no problem!

    hi reemski - the tart so wonderful that it didn't last long in my kitchen at all!

    hi penny aka jeroxie - maybe one day I'll get into the pastry-making, but not just yet, hehe!

    hi Lucy - thanks so much! I will definitely make tart again, though maybe with shortcrust pastry.

    hi stephcookie - yes, tinned pears are better than normal, i think, because they are more reliably good.

    hi Simon - I agree, it's weird. Maybe the processing of almonds is for those who don't have almond meal?

    hi A cupcake or two - 'rustic' is exactly the word I'd use too!

    hi Tiffany - consider the favour returned - I visit your blog for inspiration of a different kind!

    hi panda - my sentiments exactly. Just don't tell anyone about the shortcuts...

    hi pierre - merci! I didn't know that was the tart's name!

    hi Y - great thinking! I will try that next time.

    hi Arwen - the tart was a winner in terms of taste, and the pears really made it a standout, so tinned pears are winners!

    hi Maria - hehe, I thought so too!!!