Sunday, January 23, 2011

Almond Pear Tart

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Oh gosh. I had good intentions of paring down on desserts come January, when another box of those Harry and David pears arrived at my door. Not that I’m complaining. For those friends and relatives who sent me these gifts, I thank you profusely. It seems almost sinful to use these succulent pears for baking, when they’re just so darn juicy raw and fresh from the box.  But I only sacrificed two of them for this tart, I swear.

If you’ve ever received those Riviera pears from Harry and David, you know what I mean. They’re the best – and they’re huge. Here’s a shot of one of them, but there’s nothing here to give you perspective on the size.  To give you some idea though, let me tell you that it took only two pears to completely fill the tart in the picture above.

January 2011 151 By way of contrast, I made the tart in the photo below last year, using three bosc pears from the supermarket. Delicious – yes. Pretty – yes, but these three pears didn’t nearly fill the pan in the manner as the two Harry and David pears. I have to admit though, that the taste was equally delicious with the supermarket pears once they were poached and baked in the tart.

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But since I had the Harry and David pears I used those, cutting them into thirds rather than in half, the way I did with the supermarket bosc pears.

January 2011 173 Take a melon baller (or small spoon) and trim the center and any remaining hard spots from the tips. Poach the pears in a pot of simmering water to cover for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they’re easily pierced with a knife. I added 1/4 cup of sugar to the water and the juice from half a lemon. While the pears are poaching in the water get the ingredients mixed in the food processor for the crust.

January 2011 174 This recipe will give you too much for just one nine-inch pie crust, so I made a couple of tart shells too. There wasn’t enough of the almond filling (frangipane) to fill those as well as the larger pan, but I’ll show you later what I did with the baby tart shells.  Hey, do you see Mickey Mouse too?

January 2011 176 Mix the frangipane filling (recipe below) in the mixer, then carefully spoon some all over the tart shell. I say carefully because the crumbs from the crust are still not baked and they’ll easily lift off from the base and blend in with the filling if you just start smearing it helter-skelter.

January 2011 177 Use a spatula and carefully spread the filling evenly all over the base.

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After the pears have poached, drain them and slice them evenly.

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Then fan out the slices with your hand and lift them altogether with a knife.

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Start by placing them on opposite sides of the tart shell. When the pears are this large, you won’t be able to make them meet evenly in the center, so you can either remove some of the slices or slide them off center and place all the slices on the tart (I went with the second choice.)

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Fill the tart shell completely with the sliced pears and bake.

January 2011 183 When it comes out of the oven, you can spread some glaze over the top. I normally use a little apricot jam that has been warmed to make it easier to spread. This time I didn’t have any, but I had some sweet orange jam, and used that instead. Any light colored jam or jelly will do.

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Here’s what I did with those little tart shells. I poached another pear (the supermarket bosc kind this time.) and I put half (well almost half – I ate a few slices) of it in one shell, and half in the other tart shell. I glazed it with the jam before baking this time, then baked it for 30 minutes.

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Almond Pear Tart

Printable Recipe Here

Poach two or three pears, depending on size, in a pan of water to which you add the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup sugar. Let it simmer together for about 10 or 15 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove and drain the pears.

Chocolate Crust

1  nine-ounce box chocolate cookie wafers

5 T. butter, melted and cooled slightly

dash of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and whir until everything is crushed into fine particles. Spray a 9-inch tart shell with PAM (or butter it lightly) and gently press the crumb mixture into the pan. Set aside.

Frangipane Filling:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour (I found almond flour at my local health food store)

1 tsp. almond extract

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground almonds or almond flour and almond extract and mix until a smooth batter forms.


Spread the frangipane mixture carefully over the chocolate crust. It’s best if you take dabs of it and place them all over the crust, rather than put one big lump in the center. That way you won’t loosen as many of the chocolate crumbs, which are still pretty loose in the shell, since it’s unbaked. Spread the mixture all over the tart shell.

Take the cooled pears and slice them evenly. With the palm of your hand, press them flat. Pick up the slices altogether and arrange them on the frangipane mixture, covering as much of the shell as you want, and in any design you want. If you have small pears, it may take three or more. With large pears, it might take only two.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes or until the filling is golden. Remove from the oven and glaze with some apricot, orange or other light-colored jam or jelly.




  1. This is my kind of tart!
    and I love that frangipane.

  2. A heavenly combination! You tart is perfect and so beautiful.



  3. It looks so professional Linda as well as delicious. I have been trying to cut down as well, but I guess that doesn't include the 40 Portuguese Tarts I just made.

  4. Che meraviglia questa torta bella ed invityante, complimenti. Buona settimana Daniela.

  5. It's an easy tart with some skill & technique with the pears. I would love a piece with my coffee right now.

  6. Every year I tell myself I'm going to make one of these. They are so pretty. As I type, my son just polished off the last of the two pears...otherwise, I'd jump up to make these. I received a box of these pears, last year. They were so good! This year... I just have to make one. Great tutorial.

  7. I happen to be drinking coffee right now watching the Bears lose, I would so be walking over to your house for a piece of this beautiful tart right now if I could. The frangipane and chocolate what a combination and you just taught me how to fan out the pears properly!thank You!

  8. That photo of the pear is so fat and sassy - just begging to be gobbled up. I beg off sweets during the week and look for something "worth the calories" on the weekend and this is so worth the calories. Love the frangipane with the chocolate - sort of a sweet surprise.

  9. I love to make tarts so this will go on my list of "must tries," Linda! I like frangipane filling and using a chocolate crust makes those pretty pears stand out!

  10. That tart is a work of art. I love what you did with the pears on top, arranging them so beautifully. I bet this tart didn't last long. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

  11. GORGEOUS tart - you are an inspiration!

  12. What a gorgeous tart, Linda. It looks like it came out of the finest French bakery. I've never used a chocolate crust with almonds and pears and it seems like a perfect choice.

  13. These are some lovely looking tarts! The frangipane filling sounds delicious with the pears.

  14. I love anything with that almond filling-your tart looks scrumptious.

  15. Oh that is a big pear and that tart looks so good. I like the chocolate cookie crust you added.

  16. I love those Harry and David pears! I bet they go really well with the frangipane too... I wonder if using Speculoos for the crust would be too much? I do love pears and gingerbread spices together...

  17. That tart is a thing of beauty!! I love the combination of the pears and the chocolate crust...would never have thought to put them together. Wonderful!

  18. Linda,so glad you're back blogging, Your food makes me happy!.... can't wait for your next post.

  19. This looks (almost) too beautiful to eat~

  20. OMG, this sounds SO Delicious! I am definitely adding this to my "MUST MAKE" List!!! Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful week,

  21. I enjoyed watching all of those photos while youre narrating its like I was there. They look delicious specially the glazed small tart. Nom nom nom.

  22. Oh your tarts look fabulous...I would love a slice right now!
    Beautiful Linda!
    Stay warm!

  23. This is a beautiful tart, perfect for winter, Linda. I love the combination of frangipane and the chocolate crust. Your execution is perfect!

  24. Your tart is just beautiful! The frangipane filling with the pears sounds truly amazing!

  25. Can't think of anything that doesn't go with chocolate.
    Beautifully-crafted tart.

  26. Oh my, this looks so delicious. I love it.
    Thanks for all your recipe.

    Real Estate | Seattle Real Estate

  27. I am loving your blog (just found it!)...can't wait to see what's next :)

  28. Oh my, one of my favorite desserts! Thank you for posting. Visiting via dear friend, Marysol.

  29. The pears sound awesome. Your tart is gorgeous!

  30. Looks delicious, oh and that chocolate crust!?! Genius. I must try it.

    New to your site. Love it here already. Can't wait to poke around some more.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  31. new to your website and definitely new to cooking :) This is a wonderful tart which im planning to bake for my nieces. Im just wondering for the chocolate cookies,can we use the oreo without the cream? its available in my country. Thank you.

  32. Yes cherry you can use those Oreo cookies without the filling.