Though this dessert is a total showstopper, it’s very easy to prepare. My kids absolutely love the crust, which tastes like a shortbread cookie, and rush to the kitchen to help me push the buttons on the food processor.
Hands-On Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 8 servings
1 cup almond slivers, lightly toasted in a non-stick skillet until golden
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Tart shell (pre-baked according to directions)
2 firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears
1/4 cup apricot preserves, heated and strained
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse almonds and ginger with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground, then add flour and pulse to combine.
- Beat together butter and sugar until pale and light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well, then add extracts. Add nut mixture and mix just until combined.
- Spread frangipane filling evenly in tart shell. Peel, halve, and core pears, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, holding slices together to keep pear shape intact. Arrange pears decoratively on filling, fanning slices slightly.
- Bake until pears are golden and frangipane is puffed and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Brush pears (not filling) with preserves and cool tart completely in pan on rack, then remove side of pan. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, or crème fraiche.
This is the best (and easiest), and most delicious tart crust I have ever made. In fact, I think it tastes exactly like my grandmother’s shortbread cookies. Because the dough has chilled in the freezer, the hassle of using pie weights when pre-baking is eliminated. Try filling it with sweetened cream cheese and berries or use it to make a nutty frangipane tart.
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg beaten slightly
- Place dry ingredients in a bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbles form. Drizzle in egg, while pulsing until dough just comes together. It may still be a bit crumbly. Turn out onto a floured board and knead gently into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for two hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove plastic from ball and place on a floured surface. Roll out to a 12-inch round. Wrap the dough over the rolling pin, carefully lift it and center over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set dough in the pan, gently pressing together any cracks that may appear. Trim dough so that there is about a 1/2 inch overhang. Fold overhang towards the center to create an extra-thick edge. Prick dough all over the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Spray the shiny side of a piece of tinfoil with cooking spray and press onto the tart shell. To partially bake, place tart in the center of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil. If crust has bubbled, press lightly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 5 minutes more or until crust is light golden brown. To fully bake crust, bake for 5-10 minutes more until crust is a deeper golden brown color. Cool completely and fill as directed.