For me, everybody should get to eat a homemade tart at least once during the winter. By homemade, I mean made in your own oven, not homemade as in a homemade apple tart you buy in the supermarket. Those frosty mornings spent pouring the contents of the kettle over the car are made all the easier when you know that a slice of tart awaits you later that evening and a rustic tart like this one hits the spot every time.
You will probably be able to find most of the ingredients for this tart in your cupboards and that really is the whole point of this recipe: to be easily able to knock up a quick yet delicious tart to keep your stomach satisfied through the winter.
The pastry is a basic sweet shortcrust with the addition of some ground almonds. The ground almonds aren’t essential in the pastry however they do give the pastry a nuttiness and make it even crumblier.
Blind baking is a very important step in most tarts and is essential if you want to avoid a soggy bottom. It is especially important for tarts that have a very wet filling such as quiche but still a crucial step for this recipe if you want very crisp pastry.
The filling is a basic frangipane sponge the same as you would use in a bakewell. To make it, I creamed the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
Next a couple of eggs were beaten in, or as us Galwegians might say were ‘ bated’.
By the way this frangipane filling happens to be gluten free, so for anybody out there interested in such recipes this might make an interesting filling for a tart with a gluten free pastry.
In an ideal world, those pears that I am pressing down would be fresh pears that were simmered in a light sugar syrup flavoured with a few spices for about 20 minutes. However in the busy world we live in, they come out of a tin. And tinned fruit really come to their own during the winter in my kitchen.
For the pastry
250 g flour
50g ground almonds
30 g caster or icing sugar
150 g butter
For the frangipane
150 g softened butter
150 g caster sugar
150 g ground almonds
1 tin of pears or 4 poached pears
2 tablespoons apricot jam (I used apple jelly)
- Place the flour, ground almonds and sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter and then add enough liquid to bind into a dough. Any liquid will do, I used a drop of the syrup from the tinned pears. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a one pound coin, or about 1/2 cm, and use to line a 28 cm tart tin. Prick the base with a fork, line with a parchment paper and fill with baking beans (or in my case baking beans and dried chickpeas).
- Bake blind for about 15 minutes, remove the paper and beans and place back in the oven to dry out the pastry for a further 5 minutes. Trim off the excess pastry after it comes out of the oven.
- To make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar until pale, then add the ground almonds. Mix in the eggs, one at time.
- Spoon the frangipane into the pastry case and level it off. Slice the pears length – ways and arrange on top of the frangipane.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the filling is set.
- When the tart is cooked, warm the apricot jam with a little water and brush over the top of the tart. Serve warm, or at room temperature.