This recipe is so versatile – you can use other fruits instead of the pears. If your fruit is very hard then just soften it a bit before use by poaching lightly. You will need a 23cm fluted tart tin.
- 350g plain flour
- 200g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 75g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g soft unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 40g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp almond essence
- 2 medium pears, cored and cut into eighths
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
First make your pastry case. This recipe makes enough for two cases.
Put the flour and cold butter cubes into a food processor. Pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and pulse again. Now add the beaten eggs and run the processor until the mixture comes together into one large lump. Remove from the machine, divide into two and wrap each half tightly in cling film. Put in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 210C/Fan 190C/Gas 7. When you’re ready to roll your pastry (if it has been in the fridge for a long time and is very hard, take it out 20 minutes before you roll) lightly flour your surface and the top of the pastry and start rolling, turning the pastry a quarter turn each time you roll. Hopefully you will get a perfect roll and transfer the pastry straight to the tart tin BUT don’t panic if you don’t and it starts to crack up – just bring the pastry together again with your hands, knead it ever so slightly to put it back together in one lump, flour again and re roll. Every time I do this with this pastry it comes out perfect on the second roll! If you try this recipe please do let me know if this works for you.
Transfer the pastry to your tin, carefully press it down into the edges and lightly prick the base all over with a fork. Now cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes. Take the case out of the oven, remove the paper and beans and bake for a further two minutes. This should crisp up your pastry perfectly and avoid a ‘soggy bottom’. Allow to cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5. The filling is easy to do – just put all the ingredients except for the pears and the apricot jam into your food processor and blitz until it looks pale and creamy. Now arrange the pear pieces in the pastry case and spread the filling mixture over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
When your tart is done, put the jam in a small pan with a tiny splash of water and heat it through, then brush it all over the top of the tart to get a lovely shiny glaze. Now allow the whole thing to cool – this tart is much better at room temperature than hot. Enjoy!