For my tardiness, all I can is sorry. I'd mentioned back in August (see here) that I would post the recipe of the delicious French Almond & Pear Tarte I made for my brother's birthday. Between the catering jobs I've had on and the hectic lead up to Christmas, it just simply slipped my mind. Thank you to those of you who reminded me with your emails.
So in order to redeem myself, even just a little, please find the recipe below.
1 quantity sweet pastry (below)
55g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 pears (ripe but still firm), peeled, halved and cored
3 tbsp apricot jam
150g unsalted butter, softened
145g caster sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
140g ground almonds
finely grated zest of a lemon
30g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Roll out the pastry to line a 23cm round loose-based tart tin. Chill for 20 minutes.
Put the sugar and vanilla pod in a saucepan. Add pears and pour in just enough water to cover them, then remove the pears. Bring the water to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pears, cover and poach for 5-10 minutes until tender. Drain and leave to cool.
For the filling, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs gradually and then fold in the almonds, lemon zest and flour.
Line the pastry shell with a crumpled piece of greaseproof paper and baking beads and blind bake for 10 minutes, remove paper and beads and bake for a further 3-5 minutes, or until just cooked but still pale. Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees.
Spread 3/4 of the filling in the pastry shell and put the pear hales on top,cut-side down and stalk ends in the middle. Fill the gaps with the remaining filling. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is golden and firm. Melt the apricot jam with 1 tsp water and brush over the pears to make them shine.
340g plain flour
small pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter
90g icing sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Sift flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Put the butter in the well and work, using a pecking action with your fingertips and thumb, until it is very soft. Add the sugar and mix together, then add the eggs and mix together.
Gradually incorporate the flour, flicking it onto the mixture and then chopping through it until you have a rough dough. Bring it together with your hands and knead a few times to make a smooth dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Whenever I talk about French food, and in particular French desserts (which is quite often the case) I'm always surprised by others reactions. The most common comment being "way too complicated". In actual fact (and I'm not talking about Michelin Star dishes here), French cooking, especially the rustic, day to day cooking is so very simple and tasty as hell. This tarte is no exception. I urge you to try it and see for yourself. Yes I'll admit that if you're not a fan of making pastry from scratch it can be a bit daunting so I suggest either to make extra and pop it in the freezer for next time - this is what I do, or simply pick up some good pre-made pastry. Someone out there has put a good deal of time effort into making the pastry for you, so why not partake?