Pear and Almond Tart
This tart is a classic fall dessert in both Italy and France—its flavors are subtle, it's not too sweet, and its easy to make. If pears aren’t in season, used canned pears. Each of the components can be made two days ahead then be assembled and cooked at the last minute.
4 cups Water (or 3 cups water and 1 cup white wine)
1¼ cups + 7 Tbl Granulated Sugar
1½ Tbl Lemon Juice
3 medium, firm Pears, peeled (e.g., Bosc)
½ cup Powdered Sugar + some for dusting
¼ + ⅔ cups blanched, slivered Almonds
¼ tsp Salt
9 + 6 Tbl unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 large Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
1¼ cups + 1 Tbl Flour
For the pears: Bring the 4 cups liquid, 1¼ cups granulated sugar and lemon juice to a boil, 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).
Blend powdered sugar, ¼ cup almonds, and salt in food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add 9 Tablespoons butter and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Mix in one egg yolk. Add 1¼ cups flour. Pulse to blend until dough comes together in clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 3 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead (keep refrigerated).
Finely grind ⅔ cup almonds and 1 Tbl flour in processor. Mix in 7 Tbl. sugar, then 6 Tbl. butter, blending until smooth. Mix in 1 egg, and process until egg is completely incorporated. Transfer to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead (keep chilled).
Position rack in center of oven and prehead to 375°F. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 10” round, lifting and turning dough to keep free from paper. Using parchment paper as an aid, turn dough into a 9” tart pan with removable bottom, peel off paper. Use scraps of dough to seal any cracks. Trim overhang to ½ inch. Fold overhang in, making double thick sides. Pierce crust all over with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes.
Line crust with buttered foil, buttered side down, then fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake crust until sides are golden and bottom is set, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 6-10 minutes longer. Cool crust in pan.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Spread almond filling evenly in crust. De-stem the pears and cut each in half lengthwise; scoop out cores. Cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each pear half in order to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under pears and arrange atop filling likes spokes of a wheel with narrow ends in center.
Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing the tart. Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.
Dust with powerdered sugar before serving.
Wine Pairing: Delizia. The delecate pear and buttery notes in the tart complement the peach aromas and fullness of the wine.
Recipe adapted by Gloria DeMaria from Bon Appétit magazine.