If you like decadence, then you’ll love this tart. It’s quite simple in its nature and not overly done, but something about the rich chocolate frangipane combined with delicate flavour and texture of the pear, encased in the crisp shortcrust pastry is simply sublime. When I first made this tart we ended up taking it with us to a restaurant (BYO dessert, anyone?), leading the owner to suppose it was someone’s birthday. We didn’t correct him for fear that he’d relinquish our dessert and force us to order something from his menu, when in reality his generosity extended to offering us a jug of cream to serve with it! If you make this tart, let me know what you end up getting away with!
Pear & Chocolate Frangipane Tart
for the pastry
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 75g butter, chilled and cubed
- 30g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 medium egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water
for the filling
- 110g unsalted butter, softened
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 90g ground almonds
- 10g plain flour
- 20g cocoa powder
- 50g golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons pear preserve
- 5 tinned pear halves
for the glaze
- 2 tablespoons pear preserve
Make the pastry: in a medium bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar. Use a palette knife to cut in the beaten egg then press together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm but not hard.
Grease a 23cm round loose-bottomed flan tin (about 3cm deep) then roll the pastry between a sheet of non-stick baking paper and the cling film to 3mm thick. Remove the paper then lower the pastry into the tin, cling film-side up, and press into the grooves. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5.
Remove the pastry case from the freezer and peel off the cling film. Trim the edges of the pastry in line with the sides of the tin and prick the base with a fork. Bake the pastry case blind (line each with non-stick baking paper and an even layer of baking beans) in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and return the cases to the oven for 5 more minutes until just starting to colour on the edges. While the case is baking, prepare the filling.
Make the frangipane: place all the filling ingredients, excluding the pear preserve and pear halves, in a medium bowl and beat together using an electric hand mixer until smooth. Set aside.
Assemble the tart: Reduce the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Spread the pear preserve evenly over the base of the part-baked pastry case, then spoon the frangipane on top and smooth into an even layer. Slice the pear halves lengthways into five, leaving the slices intact at the narrow end. Arrange the sliced pear halves on the frangipane in a wheel pattern and press down to partly-submerge. Bake the tart in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the frangipane is risen and just set in the middle. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Make the glaze: in a saucepan, carefully heat the pear preserve with one teaspoon of water until runny, then pass through a sieve. Brush the top of the tart with the pear glaze and leave to set. Serve at room temperature on its own or with cream.