Having baked little Blackberry bakewell tarts intending to use up blackberries in our garden, I was left with a redundant part-bag of ground almonds. Not to worry, I thought, something will soon come along to suggest itself and what did was a windfall pear! Pear goes beautifully with almonds, even the very unripe pears that our tree always produces.
For the pastry:
4oz plain flour
2 tbsp cold water
For the frangipane:
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
50g ground almonds
50g and 1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp almond liqueur
For the topping:
I started by peeling and coring the pears and sliced each one lengthways into 8 segments. I then put these into a saucepan of barely simmering water for about half an hour until they were softened but not slushy. They kept their nice pale colour and ended up pretty much like you'd get with tinned pears. I ran them under cold water and popped them in the fridge until needed.
Next the pastry. I wanted one large tart this time so made only half the quantity I had for the blackberry bakewells. (It was still too much and 3oz flour with 1.5oz butter would have done.) I cubed the butter and rubbed it into the flour until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs. Then I mixed in the water with a knife, clingfilmed the dough and put it into the fridge too.
The oven went on at 180c because it's a fan (200c/Gas 6 otherwise). Then I beat all the frangipane ingredients together in my lovely +Mason Cash mixing bowl. I hadn't thought of it before but this is something else that I might miss. I realised with a jolt of dismay that there was only 50g of almonds left, not another 100g of almonds as I had previously used. I made up the difference in weight with extra flour and added a (slightly) larger tbsp of almond liqueur to compensate the flavour.
Retrieving the pastry from the fridge, I rolled it out thinly to line an 8 inch pie dish. The dish has holes in the bottom to aid pastry crisping so I didn't bother with blind baking. Then I spooned and smoothed the frangipane into the pastry case and arranged the pears on top. I baked the tart for 35 mins nearer the top of the oven and it turned out beautifully! Again, it tasted much almondier when cold than when hot.