I am mortally scared of baking. I’m more of a ‘a dash of this or a pinch of that’ kind of a cook. So baking is usually a disaster. This was one experiment that did turn out good! It all started with having too many ripe pears at home!
200 Calories per serving 16 servings
Preparation Time 40 minutes
Cooking Time 40 minutes
Ode to Marry Berry
My daughter and I love watching the Great British Baking Show. We don’t necessarily have a sweet tooth but just love watching the nicest and most polite food competition ever! The English countryside and classic baking challenges just draws us in.
I don’t have the coveted Kitchen Aid stand mixer. But do have a food processor! This is the first time I used the food processor for a baking recipe. Loved it! Easy, fast and no mess!
I like quick recipes. This sweet short crust pastry takes 5 minutes in a food processor.
So here is my version of the classic, under guidance from Mary. I cut back on the sweetness and butter a bit to keep the calories in check yet had it balanced to give a perfect crumbly crust and a gooey Frangipane filling.
100g (4oz / 7tablespoons) unsalted butter (cold)
1.5 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of finely diced lemon rind
1 tablespoon water
2-3 drops of lemon juice
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large pears (ripe)
3 tablespoons Guava/ Apricot jam
Handful of Roasted almond slivers
Step by step directions:
- Cut up the hard cold butter in small 1.5 inch cubes.
- Add butter, flour and sugar to the food processor with the chopping blade insert. Pulse till consistency of bread crumbs (2 minutes).
- Whisk together the egg, water and lemon juice.
- Add half of the lemon rind to the egg.
- Change the food processor attachment from the chopping blade to the dough tool.
- Gradually mix in the egg and lemon mixture at a low setting. In 2-3 minutes mixture will comes together as a dough.
- Wrap in cling film and chill while making the filling.
- In the unwashed food processor mix the softened butter and sugar using the chopping blade until creamy and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
- Little bit at a time add eggs to the butter mix. Mix and scrape sides of the food processor with a spatula. It might look curdled and not mixed well but its ok!
- Add the almond meal, flour, amaretto, almond extract and mix. The mix will be homogeneous, grainy and thick.
- Finally add the remaining half of the lemon rind and mix for a few seconds.
- Chill in the fridge while you roll out the pastry.
Rolling out Dough
- Rub butter on to tart pan. I have a ceramic pan of a flan tin. Dust with flour. I like to take the dish over my sink, turn it over and give it a few good strong taps. This gets rid of all the excess flour.
- Lightly flour a cool surface, I use my kitchen counter.
- Take the chilled dough out and roll out, turning it 90o after each roll. I find this gives me a nice perfect circle and even thickness. I like a thin crust, so I rolled it out to about 1/4 inch thickness or a bit more than that.
- Transfer rolled out pastry to the prepared tart pan. Cut off excess dough from the edge of the pan using a knife or your fingers.
- Place back in the fridge while you prep your pear.
I personally don’t like a huge chunk of pear in my slice of tart. So I slice mine. You could keep yours in half too, that looks very pretty!
The quality and ripeness of the pear matters. Mine were ripe and juicy. If yours are on the hard crunchy side I would simmer in sugar water for 5 to 10 minutes. Just till you can easily put a fork in it.
- Use a pealer to peal pears.
- Cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Slice length wise about 1/2 centimeter thick. Or just leave them as halves. If you choose to leave as half make sure the pear is not taller that the depth of your pan when placed center down. Trim if needed.
Arrange and Bake
- Start heating up the oven to 375oF convention oven (190oC fan). Place a heavy dish on the lower shelf. I like using my pizza stone.
- Pour the Frangipane cream into the tart.
- Use the bottom of a spoon to even out the cream layer as the mix is quite thick.
- Arrange the sliced pears in a circle or layered manner however you like. Pushing it down gently into the Frangipane mix.
- Make sure you leave some room between the pears whether sliced or halves. The Frangipane mix does rise as it has the eggs in it.
- Place the tart dish on the heavy dish in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. (This gives an intense heat from the bottom cooking the tart base faster)
- Move the tart pan to the rack above without the heavy dish. Bake for another 20 -25 minutes.
- Test with a knife in a region with just Frangipane. Go all the way through the crust. It should come out clean.
- Let the tart cool a bit.
- Warm a jam of your choice. I used guava jam, apricot, peach jams would also be great.
- Brush the jam on top of the tart as a glaze. Decorate with roasted slivered almonds on top.
- Dig in!