The photo on the top left of the header was a Vanilla Nectarine Tart I baked over one and a half years ago, and it had to be one of the first truly amazing food photos I had ever taken. It made me realise how important food-styling is – even if your dish tastes amazing, if it doesn’t appeal to the eyes, it detracts from one element of the sensory experience.
It tasted amazing, but I haven’t made it since. I decided to do it again it anticipation of the bake sale I was going to be holding with Kulinary Adventures of Kath, but this time to caramelise some pears to gently press into the frangipane filling. I’ve recently discovered the beautiful sweetness and texture when cooking beurre bosc pears, and I wanted to taste it again.
Vanilla Pear Tart (original recipe by Confessions of a Glutton):
For the pastry, you will need:
- 250g plain flour;
- 125g unsalted butter;
- 80g icing sugar;
- 2 egg yolks;
- 1 tablespoon water, chilled.
For the filling, you will need:
- 45g butter + 10g extra;
- 3/4 cup caster sugar + 1/4 cup, extra;
- 1 + 1/4 cup almond meal;
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
- 1/4 cup plain flour;
- 2 eggs;
- 2 beurre bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced into eighths;
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice;
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam;
- 2 teaspoons of water.
To make your pastry, put the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor and sift over the icing sugar. Process until the mixture forms breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg yolks and chilled water, and with the motor running, gradually add the yolk mix in a steady stream. Process until just before the mixture forms a ball. Turn out onto a clean, dry and lightly floured surface and knead lightly before forming it into a disc and wrapping in clingfilm. Refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper and line into a 26cm removeable base tart tin and prick the base with a fork. Line with baking paper and rice/beads before placing in the oven for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, remove the paper and weights and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Allow to cool.
Toss the pear slices in a bowl with the lemon juice to combine. In a medium-sized frying pan, melt the 10g of butter over low heat and stir in the 1/4 cup of caster sugar. Add the pears and cook gently for 8-10 minutes or until deliciously caramelised. Put to one side and allow to cool.
To make the filling, place the butter, sugar, almond meal, vanilla, flour and eggs into the bowl of a food processor (or hand-held mixer, in my case) and process until smooth. Pour this into the cooled tart shell and smooth the top.
Press the caramelised pear slices over the almond mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is golden. Remove and allow to cool.
In a small microwave-proof bowl, stir the apricot jam and water together before microwaving for about 10-15 seconds until the jam is warm and silky. Using a pastry brush, brush this glaze over the top of the tart to give it a lovely shine. Set aside to dry slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped Chantilly cream.
I took this into the office and we had it with the ice cream already in our freezer – Honey, Caramel and Macadamia ice cream, which went with it beautifully 🙂