2. Pear (or Plum) Frangipane

Yum.

Resistance is futile. This pie will consume you. Consume it first.

Warning: this pie is so good that I made it one night for a bourbon tasting party, and then made another 2 (one with plums instead) the next night for a different party– and they were quickly consumed, with heaps of praise in between people taking more slices.  This pie is good.

Thorough Bread's almond croissants

While living in San Francisco I fell in love with Almond Croissants– particularly the ones at my favorite bakery, “Thorough Bread and Pastry”.  Imagine the flakey butteryness of a warm croissant filled and topped with an almond cream/paste that stays gooey in the center, and bakes into a marvelous coating, topped with powdered sugar and sliced almond… my mouth is watering.

That almond filling/topping is called “frangipane” and it tastes like heaven with rainbow sprinkles (if rainbow sprinkles were delicious).

I decided to make a pie with frangipane and fruit– but it turns out that the French have perfected that as well.  Let me introduce to you the glory of the “Pear Frangipane” tart.

I mildly adapted the recipe from http://dessertfirstgirl.com/2006/11/pear_and_almond.html, itself adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.  

I’m copying over the recipe with my (very modest) changes below, mainly so that I have a record of this tart if every other recipe for pear frangipane pie suddenly disappears from the internet.  Feel free to ignore the rest of this post: but do NOT ignore this pie. I leave you with another picture:

The crust shrunk a fair bit in pre-bake, which was mostly alleviated by reducing the amount of butter slightly.

Pear & Almond Frangipane Tart

Makes one 10-inch tart (original recipe said 9inch, but there was enough dough and frangipane leftover to make a 10 inch)

Pâte Sablée

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces

1-2 egg yolks

up to 2 Tbsp cold water or cream if needed.

Poached Pears or plum

2 large peeled ripe pears (I used 5 small Anjou), or 5 plums.

3 cups water

a few slices of fresh ginger

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1-2 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Frangipane

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup ground blanched almonds

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 large egg plus 1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons almond extract

For the pears: Combine the water, sugar, ginger, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, (plum peel), vanilla, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut the pears in half, remove the core.

Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 10 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender, and easily pierced with a knife or skewer.

Let the pears cool in the liquid until room temperature before using. Or, you can store them in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the tart shell: Combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Add the pieces of cold butter and use pastry fork (or normal fork) to cut in the butter until it is pea-sized. Add the egg yolk and and mix until turn from dry to clumpy. Do not let the dough form one giant ball or it will be be overworked.  If there is a lot of dry flour and the dough does not stick together when pressed, add a teaspoon of cold water.

Butter a 9 inch pie tin. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. You probably will not need all the dough – save the extra for patching the shell after you bake it. Do not press the dough too hard or it will become tough – just enough for it to form to the tin.

Freeze the shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. You do not need pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the extra dough. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.

For the frangipane: Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and combine until smooth. Add the ground almonds and blend together. Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the egg and egg white. Process the mixture until it is very smooth. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts just to blend. The frangipane can be used immediately or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If it becomes too firm in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a while to soften before using.

To finish the tart: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the frangipane evenly into the chilled shell.

Take the poached pears out of their liquid and drain them on paper towels. You don’t want too much excess liquid or they will make the frangipane soggy. Cut each pear half crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices. Do not separate the pear half yet.

Slide a spatula or other flat utensil underneath the pear so you can transfer the entire half onto the tart. Press on the pear to fan the slices toward the top narrow end of the pear.

Slide the pear half onto the frangipane carefully – you can move the pear after you place it, but not much.

Repeat with the other pear halves.

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. Cool the tart on a wire rack.

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5 Responses to 2. Pear (or Plum) Frangipane

  1. Pingback: 12. A pack of pies (chocolate cream, berry and cheese, almond+red wine pear, fig+apple rose) | thepielab

  2. PieGuy says:

    This pie must be your favorite. It’s the picture used for this blog header. I love pears in pie and will try this one very soon but poach it in red wine. I found Barletts and AnJous are the best pears to use for pies. Would you like to exchange some pie notes?
    http://www.everythingpies.com/pear-pie-recipes.html

  3. PieGuy says:

    This pie must be your favorite. It’s the picture used for this blog header. I love pears in pie and will try this one very soon but poach it in red wine. I found Barletts and AnJous are the best pears to use for pies. Would you like to exchange some pie notes?
    http://www.everythingpies.com/pear-pie-recipes.html

    Sorry to double my comment but I needed to correct my email.

    However I did want to add to this anyway. I noticed you were in San Francisco. I just did a pie tour there and will post my pie findings soon. I had a great time. Not only did I come to know the people behind the pie shops but I got to know the city better.

    I’ll tell you more later if interested.

    • Jen says:

      It is a very, very good pie. My favorite pie on this blog is probably the cactus pie, since it was a completely original recipe and fit my bill for a great traditional pie (nothing against the more eccentric pies I and others do).

      I’ve done a version poaching in red wine as well: . I’ve used Anjou and Bosc– the Bosc had a slightly grittier texture after poached in red wine, which I think using Bartlett would avoid well.

      A pie tour in San Francisco? That sounds pretty fantastic. I’ve been to Mission Pie and the shop that serves green chile apple pie (forgetting the name at the moment). I would love to hear your findings.

  4. Pingback: Blueberry in Lavender Frangipane | thepielab

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