Pear and Almond Tart
servings: Makes 1 9-inch tart
For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 to 2 grams) table salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons, 4 1/2 ounces or 130 grams) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
For the Pears:
4 cups water
3 medium-size Bartlett or Anjou Pears, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the Almond Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup almond flour*
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt (use half for table salt)
2 large eggs, at room temperature**
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Make the Crust:
Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulse about 10 seconds each until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change; heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about 2 hours before rolling.
To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
Par bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line the tart shell with a layer of parchment or tin foil so it fits tightly on the crust. Fill with pie weights or something heavy (dried beans, pennies) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before adding the filling.
Make the pears:
Bring 4 cups water, sugar, and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pears. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are very tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in syrup. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Make the Filling:
In a large bowl, cream the softened butter. Add the powered sugar and mix well.
Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt, and mix well.
Add eggs one at a time and incorporate into the mixture. Add vanilla extract and almond extract. Whisk until homogenized and smooth.
(The filling can be kept in the fridge for 3 to 5 days or frozen for weeks)
Fill the par-baked tart crust with the almond filling and use an offset spatula to smooth the edges.
Remove the pears from the sugar syrup and cut in half and lengthwise. Scoop out the cores. (I used a metal teaspoon for this). Slice pears into 1/8 inch slices and press down to fan out toward the stem side.
Slide a spatula or knife underneath the pear slices, making sure to keep them in tact, and arrange on top of the tart with the points facing toward the center.
Bake at 375˚F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the filling comes out clean.
Let it cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in the re the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*I made my own almond flour by grinding up whole almonds in a food processor for around 4-5 minutes.
** Bring your eggs to room temperature by placing in a bowl of warm water
Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook and Smitten Kitchen