As Autumn has seeped through the summer haze, the bounteous gushes of fruit crops have started to trickle. In our garden, the pear tree gazes gloomily over the dewy lawn; the leaves now burnished and coppery. The last surviving pears are ripe and ready to be used, so I came up with this recipe.
The creamy, almond flavour of the frangipane works well with the pear on its own. However, the lavender elevates this tart, giving it a bouquet-like aroma and complimenting the pears beautifully. Having become sick to death of pear crumble and pear pudding, this tart was a delicious change. It would be perfect for a dinner party dessert, and yet it is still scrummy with a cup of tea.
This tart requires a little more skill than some of my easier recipes, but it is worth it in the end. You should pull a tart out of the oven with crisp buttery pastry, a soft, lusciously aromatic filling and succulently cooked pears.
This is delicious with a dollop of crème fraîche or marscarpone. Try drizzling a little almond extract into some cream for an extra smack of flavour.
Lavender and Pear Frangipane Tart
200g/8oz plain flour
25g/1oz ground almonds
100g/4oz chilled butter
1 tsp of dried lavender heads, ground with a pestle and mortar (to release flavour)
100g/4oz ground almonds
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
(1/2 tsp lavender extract, or some dried flowers)
4-5 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1) Make the pastry. In a large bowl, crumble the flour, almonds and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and lavender, followed by the egg. If the mixture is too wet, then add more flour until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for about 3 hours to solidify the butter (if you haven’t this time, you could try half an hour in the freezer – but fridge is a MUCH better option!)
2) Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface until about 3mm thick (there will be a little over). Place the pastry over your case and press into the sides. Place the pastry-lined tart case onto a greaseproof lined oven tray and keep in the fridge.
3) Now make the frangipane! Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the ground almonds. When mixed thoroughly, crack in the egg and mix with the flour. Finally, add the almond extract and lavender if using.
4) Spread evenly over the tart base (it won’t reach the top). Finally, add the sliced pears on top in any arrangement you like.
5) Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes until the pastry looks crisp and the filling is cooked. It will still look slightly pale and gooey in the middle, but brown on the outside.
6) Remove from the oven and leave for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing from the tin and serving with your choice of cream.
If you have any leftover pastry, make some little jam tarts. Just make mini cases and fill with jam then bake for about 20 minutes.
Hope you enjoy this recipe and please comment or ask me any questions!