Almond Pear Tart
½ cup sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ cup almond meal
1 tbsp. flour (use the same amount of GF flour for the Gluten Free version)
¼ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tbsp. liquor (rum, kirsch, or cognac) or just vanilla
1 package of store bought pie crust either puff pastry or tart crust. (You can use a GF dough such as the GeeFree Puff Pastry brand for a GF version.)
5 pears of your choice
1 vanilla bean
1 quart of water
1 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp. confectioner’s (powder) sugar
To make the Almond Cream, whip the butter and sugar together. Gradually add the eggs one by one. Fold in the almond meal with a wooden spoon and add the flour and liquor/ vanilla. Put the cream aside.
Roll the tart crust open and place it on top of a tart pan. Use the rolling pin to smooth out the edges by running it over the pan and taking off any extra dough. Use a fork and pierce the dough on the tart pan all over. This helps the dough bake evenly and prevents air bubbles.
Fold the Almond Cream onto the tart dough and place the tart pan into the freezer or refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for making the syrup, boil the sugar and water in a medium size pot. Split the vanilla bean open and place it in the pot. Lower the temperature and let the syrup simmer. Skin the pears, halve and seed them by removing their core. Immerse them into the syrup and let them soak for a good hour. This process can be done up to a day in advance. (Refrigerate them if you decide to do this.) Once the pears have been poached for an hour, remove them from the heat and let them cool down. Remove and drain them from the syrup and slice them.
Lay the pear slices nicely on top of the almond cream. (Variation: If you prefer to use another fruit such as peaches, apricots or nectarines, you can slice them at this time and put them directly on the almond cream. You don't need to poach any of these fruits as you do with pear.) Brush the fruits with the melted butter and dust them with powder sugar. You can also sprinkle some sliced almonds on the pears if you like.
Bake the tart at 375F or 200C for about 50 minutes or when the tart looks done - fruits edges show be slightly brown. Take out of the oven and let it cool. Once cool, remove from the tart pan and slide the tart onto a serving dish. Dust the tart with powder sugar. (If you prefer, you can also melt a tablespoon of apricot jam/preserve with a sprinkle of water in the microwave and brush the tart with this for a gloss.)