For the pastry
- 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 110g butter
- 110g caster sugar
- 3 medium egg yolks, lightly beaten
For the frangipane
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp plain flour
For the poached pears
- 250g caster sugar, plus 2 tsp extra
- 4 good-sized pears
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 lemon
- 2-3 strips thickly pared orange zest
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- Make the pastry. Tip the flour onto a work surface. Cut the butter into cubes and dot over the flour. Sprinkle with the caster sugar. Using your fingertips, rub the butter, flour and sugar together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks and, using your fingers, gradually draw in the flour. Knead lightly, until it comes together in a smooth ball – you might need to add 1 teaspoon cold water if the dough is very crumbly. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. (Angela Hartnett’s tip: I make the pastry on a floured work surface in the traditional Italian way, but feel free to do it in a bowl if you prefer.)
- Make the frangipane filling. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the ground almonds and flour. Mix well and chill until needed.
- Make the poached pears. Put the sugar in a saucepan, pour in 500ml water and place over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the pears and add to the pan, along with the cinnamon and cloves. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the pan and add the squeezed lemon and orange zest. Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the pan with the pod. Add some more water to just cover the pears.
- Cut out a circle of baking paper large enough to fit inside the pan, and lay on top of the pears. Weigh down with a saucer or small saucepan lid so that the pears stay submerged in the poaching liquor. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the pears to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the liquor and solids. Set aside for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. (Angel Hartnett’s tip: Don’t overcook the pears – a knife should just pierce them easily. Remember – they will continue to cook in the oven.)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a circle large enough to line the tart tin. Don’t worry if it breaks up, as this is a very short, crumbly pastry – you can just patch it together in the tin and mould it up the sides, making sure it is even all over. Trim off any excess pastry and spread the frangipane evenly on top.
- Cut the pears in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the core from the centre. Cut each pear half in slices, widthways, then lift onto your knife and push down on the pears slightly to fan them out. Lift into the pastry case and arrange in a circle. Fill in the gaps between each pear half with a few more slices and arrange some in the centre. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Sprinkle with the extra 2 teaspoons caster sugar and bake in the oven for a further 15 minutes to finish off the browning. Cool in the tin slightly, then remove and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of crème fraîche.
- You will need a 23x2.5cm round, deep, fluted, loose-bottomed flan tin for this tart.
- Sweet Rieslings make the very best matches for fruit tarts. Choose a German or Austrian bottle.