- 1⅓ cups flour, scooped and leveled
- 3-7 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon double-action baking powder
- 5 tablespoons chilled butter
- 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup flour, scooped and leveled
- 1 cup boiling milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup pulverized macaroons or pulverized slivered almonds
- 2-3 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
- 1½-2 pounds firm, ripe, unblemished pears
- 2 cups cold water, combined with 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a mixing bowl
- 2 cups red Bordeaux wine
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup red currant jelly in a small saucepan
- 1 (10-inch) fully cooked sugar-crust shell (recipe above)
- 2½ cups chilled frangipane (almond custard; recipe above)
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
A French pear tart like this one is as classic as it gets! Even though this recipe was written more than 60 years ago, it's still very much in style today.
Technique tips: The frangipane makes a little more than you will need. Hold back a little in order to not overfill the tart shell, keeping in mind that the pears will displace some of the filling. The poaching time for the pears will depend on how ripe they are to begin with. Hard pears will take longer than ripe ones. Letting the pears sit overnight in the poaching liquid will allow them to turn a beautiful red color and allow the poaching liquid to fully penetrate them.
Swap option: You can use all butter in the pastry dough instead of a combination of butter and shortening.
Special equipment: A 3-quart enameled saucepan, a candy thermometer (optional) and a fluted, 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan.
For the pate sablée:1.
Preheat oven to 400 F.2.
Place the flour, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening and baking powder in the mixing bowl.3.
Rub the fat and dry ingredients together rapidly with the tips of your fingers until the fat is broken into bits the size of small oatmeal flakes.4.
Blend in the egg and vanilla and knead the dough rapidly into a ball.5.
Place on a pastry board and with the heel of your hand, not the palm, rapidly press the pastry by two-spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches (the dough will be quite sticky if you have used the full amount of sugar).6.
Form again into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and chill for several hours until firm.7.
Mold the pastry in a flan ring or false-bottomed cake pan (work rapidly if you have used the full amount of sugar, as the dough softens quickly).8.
Bake the shell for 8 to 9 minutes with pie weights or beans (blind-baking) and then another 7 to 10 minutes longer (for a fully cooked shell).
For the frangipane:1.
Beat the egg and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, gradually adding the sugar, until mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon.2.
Beat in the flour.3.
Then beat in the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.4.
Pour the mixture into saucepan and set over moderate heat. Stir slowly with a whisk, reaching all over the bottom of the pan.5.
When mixture begins to coagulate into lumps, beat it vigorously until it smooths and thickens into a stiff paste.6.
Then over moderately low heat, beat it with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour thoroughly (be careful the custard does not scorch on the bottom of the pan).7.
Off heat, beat in the butter, then the flavorings, macaroons or almonds and optional kirsch.8.
If not used immediately, clean custard off sides of pan and dot top with softened butter to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Frangipane will keep for a week under refrigeration or may be frozen.
For the pear tart:1.
Peel and halve the pears. Neatly stem and core them with a grapefruit knife.2.
Drop each half, as it is prepared, into the acidulated water to keep it from discoloring.3.
Bring the wine, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to the boil in the saucepan.4.
Drain the pears and drop into the boiling syrup.5.
Bring liquid to just below the simmer for 8 minutes or until pears are tender when pierced with a knife. Do not overcook, they must hold their shape.6.
Remove saucepan from heat and let pears cool in the syrup for 20 minutes.7.
Drain the pears on a rack.8.
Rapidly boil down the syrup to the thread stage (230 F).9.
Measure out 1/4 cup of syrup and simmer it with the red currant jelly until jelly has dissolved and the syrup coats the spoon with a light glaze.10.
Paint the inside of the shell with a thin layer of the pear and jelly glaze.11.
Spread the frangipane (custard filling) in the pastry shell.12.
Cut the pears into crosswise or lengthwise slices and arrange them over the custard.13.
Decorate with the optional almonds, if using.14.
Spoon a light coating of the glaze over the top of the tart.