Normandy Pear Tart Recipe (Tarte aux Poires Normande)
This delicious tart has become a signature recipe of Normandy. Sliced pears are arranged like petals and baked in almond cream. Pears should be ripe, or they will discolour during cooking. Getting Ahead: The tart is best eaten the day of baking, although it can be kept up to 2 days in an airtight container. ORDER OF WORK:
- 1 lemon
- 3- 4 ripe medium pears, total weight about 625 g (1 1/4 lb
- #For The Sweet Pastry Dough#
- 6 oz (175 g) plain flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 oz (60 g) sugar
- 2 1/2 oz (75 g) unsalted butter, more for pan
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
- #For the Almond Cream#
- 4 oz (125 g) whole blanched almonds
- 4 oz (125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 oz (100 g) caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) kirsch
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) plain flour
- #For the Apricot Jam Glaze#
- 5 oz (150 g) apricot jam
- 2-3 tbsp (30-45 ml) kirsch or water
- #Make the Sweet Pastry Dough# Sift the flour onto a work surface. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt Using the rolling pin, pound the butter to soften it slightly. Add the butter to the well with the vanilla.
- Using your fingertips, work the ingredients in the well until thoroughly mixed.
- Draw in the flour with the pastry scraper. With your fingers, work the flour into tire other ingredients until coarse crumbs form. If they seem dry, add a little water. “Pastry scraper is ideal tool for mixing dough”
- Press the dough into a ball. lightly flour the work surface, then blend the dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand.
- Gather up the lough with the pastry scraper and continue to blend until it peels away from the work surface in one piece, 1-2 minutes. Shape into a ball, wrap tightly, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. A note from Eatopic: “Pastry doughs made with so much sugar are particularly delicate. Be sure to give the dough enough time to chill.” #Line the Flan Tin# Brush the inside of a 23-25 cm (9-10 inch) flan tin with melted butter. Unwrap the dough; roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a round 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the tin. “Check size of rolled-out dough by placing flan tin on top”
- Roll up the dough around the rolling pin, then unroll it loosely over the flan tin. “Drape dough over tin without stretching it”
- Lift the edge of the dough with one hand and press it well into the bottom of the tin with the other hand. Leave a ridge of dough just inside the edge of the tin. “This ridge is pushed up over the edge of the tin to make a deep shell”
- Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin, pressing down lightly on the rolling pin to cut off the excess pastry dough. With your thumb, press the dough evenly up the side of the flan tin and above the top edge of the tin. Neaten the edge of the dough.
- With both forefingers and thumbs, pinch the dough above the side of the tin to form a fluted edge. Prick the bottom of the tart shell with the fork to prevent air bubbles from forming during cooking. Chill the shell until firm, at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the almond cream and prepare the pears. “Pinch to make neat fluted edge” #Make the Almond Cream# Grind the almonds in 2-3 batches in the food processor. A note from Eatopic: Do not overwork the nuts or their oil will be released, creating a paste.
- With the electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy and light, 2-3 minutes. “Sprinkle sugar into softened butter”
- Add the egg and egg yolk to the mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. “Beat in whole egg thoroughly before adding egg yolk”
- Add the kirsch, then stir in the ground almonds and flour. #Prepare the Pears# Cut the lemon in half. Peel the pears with the vegetable peeler. As each pear is peeled, rub it all over with the cut lemon to prevent it from discolouring.
- Twist the stalk of each pear to remove it and scoop out the flower end with the tip of the peeler.
- With the small knife, cut the pears lengthwise in half. Neatly remove the core from the center of each pear half with the melon baller or the tip of the vegetable peeler. Rub all the cut surfaces of each pear half with the cut lemon again.
- Set a pear half cut-side down on a chopping board. Using the thin-bladed knife, cut it lengthwise into thin slices, leaving them joined at the stalk end. Repeat with 6 more of the pear halves. Cut the last pear half crosswise into thin slices. A note from Eatopic: “Each of the 7 fruit halves should hold together neatly after slicing” #Assemble and Bake the Tart# Heat the oven to 200° C (400° F, Gas 6). Heat the baking sheet near the bottom of the oven. Spoon the almond cream into the chilled pastry shell and spread it evenly with the palette knife. “Smooth surface of I almond cream layer”
- Flatten the 7 pear halves that were sliced lengthwise so that each has slightly overlapping slices.
- Transfer the flattened pear halves to the tart using the palette knife, arranging them like the petals of a flower. Press them down lightly. Arrange the slices of the remaining pear half in the center to resemble a rose. “Slide pear half from palette knife onto almond cream”
- Set the flan tin on the hot baking sheet and bake until the pastry begins to brown, 12-15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180° C (350° F, Gas 4) and continue baking until the almond cream is set, 25-30 minutes longer. Let the tart cool in the tin. “Setting tin on hot baking sheet ensures that base of tart cooks thoroughly.”
- Meanwhile, make a jam glaze (This see link) with the apricot jam. Unmould the tart and transfer it to a plate. Brush the top with the melted glaze. Serve at room temperature.
- “Almond cream puffs attractively around pear slices” “Pear halves resemble flower petals”