Pear Almond Tart
1 cup flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp cold milk or ice water
1/2 tsp of vanilla
3 small, firm but ripe pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou
6 Tbsp unsalted room temperature butter
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Add the flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt together in a food processor and pulse once or twice to combined. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no bigger than a pea. Alternatively use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the butter, or freeze the butter and coarsely grate it then use your fingers and rub the pieces into the flour. It is very important to keep the butter cold otherwise it will melt and make the crust greasy and you'll lose all the flaky layers.
Mix the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla together. Drizzle the mixture over the butter and flour mix in the food processor. Pulse again until the dough start to form large clumps. If it looks too dry add a little more milk.
Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and press the clumps together to form a disc. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and chill at least an hour up to overnight. Or store it in the freezer for as long as you want.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough to into a large circle. Move the crust around often to make sure it doesn't stick to your work surface.
Transfer the dough to an 8 or 9 inch tart pan. To make this easier, drape the dough over the rolling pin and lay it over the pan. Lift the edges of the crust and gently press the dough down into the pan. Roll over the top of the pan with a rolling pin to trim any overhanging dough.
Prick the surface of the dough with a fork. Press a sheet of aluminum foil onto a crust and add pie weights, beans, or clean pennies on top. Bake the crust for 25 minutes lined with foil and weighted down with pie weights, beans, or pennies, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the tart pan, keeping the crust in the pan, and cool the crust until it is room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, and cornstarch. Process the butter with the sugar in the food processor then add the dry ingredients and process until smooth. Then add the extracts and egg and blend until smooth. The cream can also be made with a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer. The almond cream can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or you can freeze it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and core them. Rub them with fresh lemon juice and then pat them dry. Slice each pear half and then cut each half into thin slices.
Spread the almond cream evenly in the tart crust. Lift the sliced pear half with a spatula, gently press down on it to fan it out, and lay it on the almond cream. The skinny part of the pear should face in. Repeat with the other 5 pear halves. The 6 pear halves will form spokes. Optional: decorate the tart with some almond slices.
Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream is puffy and brown. After baking let it cool until it is warm or room temperature to serve.
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