Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart


I love having people over for dinner - my husband would tell you that my absolute favourite thing of all time is to be at the table surrounded by friends, the kids, and their friends too. I love it. I love the fun and banter and get such a kick out of hearing my growing-up boys voice their opinions on anything and everything (they are a total hoot), and of course I love the excuse to get busy in the kitchen. So last night my dad and mother-in-law came for dinner and we got stuck into eye fillet wrapped in prosciutto, flat green beans, baby carrots in thyme butter and garlic, and a big pile of mashed potatoes. Incredibly we all still found room to squeeze in a slice of this Pear Frangipane Tart. We had it very simply served with some vanilla bean ice-cream, but it would also be perfect with softly whipped cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and flavoured with a glug of Amaretto. (If anyone is keen for the method of preparing and cooking the eye fillet just leave a comment and let me know:) We don't have Thanksgiving in New Zealand (obviously) but I suspect this would be an ideal end to that kind of meal! If you haven't already, please come on over and say 'hi' at my Facebook page - I'd love to hear from you!

 5 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scarped out with the tip of a knife
1/2 tsp almond essence
peel from 1 lemon
3 Berre Bosc or William pears

Put all ingredients (including vanilla bean seeds) except the pears in a big wide pot and bring to the boil stirring for a few minutes to dissolve sugar, then reduce to a simmer. In the meantime carefully peel your pears then put all together into the simmering liquid, if they are not fully covered add a little more water to cover them. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes if you have already ripe pears, 20 minutes for almost ripe pears and 35 minutes for absolutely rock hard. Test for doneness by piercing one to ensure the it is just soft but not mushy. Once the pears are cooked, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and put in a container, standing upright, and pour poaching liquid around to cover. Once cool core and cut into eighths- you may not use every piece, but the left over slices are delicious!
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup icing sugar
60g chilled butter, chopped
1 egg yolk (keep white)
1/2 tsp almond essence
1 tbsp ice water

100g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 1/3 cups ground almond
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp almond essence

1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting

250ml softly whipped cream 
1 tbsp Amaretto or similar liqueur
1 tbsp icing sugar 
(optional to serve)

For pastry whizz flour, almonds and icing sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter and whizz to form breadcrumbs. Add egg and yolk, almond essence and water and pulse until pastry just comes together. Tip out onto a floured bench and form into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. Spray a 25cm removable base tart tin with cooking oil and roll pastry out with a rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper to about 1/2cm thickness. Remove one sheet of baking paper and carefully roll over the rolling pin, then unroll pastry-side-down into the tart tin. Remove top sheet of baking paper and trim...this all sounds ridiculously easy, but it's not quite as simple as it sounds. The good news is the pastry is quite easily squished and mended when it tears, so if necessary patch it back together! Prick the base with a fork and refrigerate tart base for at least half an hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Whizz second lot of butter, caster sugar, eggs, almonds, flour and almond essence in a food processor. Line the 25cm pastry shell with baking paper and fill with baking beans or weights. Bake for 12 mins then remove paper and beans and brush the base with a little of the separate egg white, lightly whisked. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread frangipane evenly into base then arrange pears on top and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the frangipane is lightly golden. Cool before removing from base, sprinkle with icing sugar if desired and serve with vanilla bean ice cream and/or softly whipped Amaretto cream. Serves 8-10

My first lot of home-made pottery used in a shoot!


  1. Hi, for this tart, it seems that you baked the frangipane BEFORE you arranged the cooked pears on top? is it possible to do this way too? thanks!

    1. Hi Leslie, no I bake the pastry case and pears before putting it all together, but not the frangipane - so it goes - pre-cooked pastry shell filled with un-cooked frangipane topped with poached pears then all finished off with a further 20 minutes - and this is when the frangipane cooks. Hope this helps! :)

  2. In the pastry, it says, "1/2 icing sugar". Is that 1/2 cup? Thanks!

    1. Whoops - yes indeed, I will update it immediately. Thanks so much!!! :)