This was our Thanksgiving dessert. Pear + Almond Tart. I’ve made a few pear tarts over the years and was really happy how this one came out. I still had the problem with the tart shell shrinking, but other than that it came out fine. I’ve since researched some non-shrinking tart shells and will see if that is even possible. I didn’t go too crazy with baking last week since it was dinner for two and this worked out just right. The nice thing about this recipe is that there are a lot of do-aheads here, so it can be made in stages and then assembled and baked. The dough can easily be made in advance and frozen, or kept for a couple days in the refrigerator. The filling can be made ahead and used within a week, as well as the poached pears, they will fine in the refrigerator for a few days. So if you don’t mind planning out a few things, this can come together quite quickly! I made the dough, pre-baked tart shell, poached pears and made the filling all the previous day, so it was really nice to just assemble and bake on Thanksgiving day. Even though we were only cooking for two this year it can still get pretty crazy depending on how many different things you’re making. Instead of a turkey we decided to go with a Turkey Roulade. It’s a turkey breast rolled with dried cherries and sausage stuffing, seared, baked and sliced. Wow it was so good, I wish I had some photos to share. I’d like to make it again on a less hectic day. It is quite involved but definitely worth it. I may revisit this in a few months and do a post on it. Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season.
Pear + Almond Tart
- 6 ounces almond paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 3 ounces butter, salted or unsalted, cubed, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temperature
- Almond extract, a few drops
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rum, Calvados, or kirsch (optional)
- 2-3 Poached pears, I used 2 large pears for a 9” tart pan (recipe below)
- Pre-baked 9-inch Tart Shell, at room temperature (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour, until smooth. Some almond pastes may be drier than others. If yours is dry, just mix until the almond paste is finely-broken up. (my almond paste was dry and very difficult to work with so I would definitely recommend a stand mixer if yours is as well).
Gradually beat in the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, and the liquor. Then spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell with a rubber spatula.
Slice the pear quarters into 1/4” slices, about 5 slicers per quarter, then fan the slices evenly over the almond filling, leaving a space between each section. Press them slightly into the filling. Bake the tart for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the almond filling between the pears has browned. (mine baked for 50 minutes). Remove from oven onto rack and cool slightly before serving. Can be served at room temperature.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 large egg, whisked
Whisk sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Drizzle egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (a few dry spots are okay). Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.) Place dough on floured surface. Roll to 10-11” circle, place dough in pan and press to fit, overlap edges inside. With a fork make holes in the crust to prevent bubbling. Cover the crust with parchment or foil and fill with rice or weights. bake 10-15 minutes until just firm but not browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding almond mixture.
- 1 quart water
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Large Bosc pears; peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 Vanilla bean, split
- 1 cinnamon stick
In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add the pears and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove pears from liquid and allow to cool on a plate. You can save the liquid for other recipes if you like. I have a another poached pear recipe here, but the one above is from David Lebovitz.