A crunchy shortcrust pastry, filled with walnut frangipane and topped with sliced pears. This tart is a delicious fruit dessert to make in the winter, when pears are in season.
Walnut shortcrust pastry
Usually I like to include some ground almonds in the pastry for sweet pies or tarts as they add a richness and help keep the pastry tender. You can replace them with pretty much any nut – here I’ve gone for walnuts as they go so well with the flavour of pears. To make the ground walnuts all you have to do is pulse them in a food processor (or blender) until finely ground – they don’t seem to get as fine as shop-bought ground almonds but they should have mealy texture. Just make sure that you don’t process them for too long as the walnuts will easily turn from a meal to a butter due to their high fat content.
Usually made with ground almonds, frangipane is a rich batter simply made from butter, sugar, flour, eggs and ground nuts. When baked, the texture is rich and very moist and works amazingly with fruit (as this helps cut the richness). To keep with the walnut theme, I replaced the ground almonds with ground walnuts which gives this tart a much more toasty flavour. I’ve also included brown butter in the frangipane to really highlight that nutty flavour.
Do I need to blind bake the pastry?
With this tart, you don’t need to blind bake the pastry (blind baking is where you par-bake the pastry in the tart tin before adding any fillings). As this tart is filled with frangipane (which is quite dry), it won’t cause the pastry to become soggy so you can get away with filling it immediately.
Pear Walnut Frangipane Tart
- 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour
- 40 g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 20 g ground walnuts
- 50 g (1/4 cup) unsalted cold butter cubed
- 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 120 g ground walnuts
- 80 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 40 g (1/3 cup) plain white flour
- 1 egg white
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp fine table salt
Pears & Decoration
- 2-3 small, firm pears halved, cores removed, thinly sliced
- milk for brushing
- demerara sugar (raw sugar/cane sugar) for sprinkling
Grind the walnuts:
- Place 140g walnut halves/pieces into a food processor. Blitz until ground into a fine, mealy texture. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
Make the pastry:
- Place the flour, icing sugar, 20g of the ground walnuts, butter and salt into a food processor. Blitz until all the butter has incorporated and you get a sandy texture. Add the egg yolk and blitz again until the dough is starting to come together. If it looks too crumbly still, add 1 to 2 tbsp cold water or milk and blitz again.120 g (1 cup) plain white flour, 40 g icing sugar (powdered sugar), 20 g ground walnuts, 50 g (1/4 cup) unsalted cold butter, 1/4 tsp fine table salt, 1 egg yolk
- Tip the dough out onto a work surface and bring together into a ball. Pat down into a circle and place onto a plate. Chill, either in the fridge for 1 hour or the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Once the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge/freezer and dust lightly with flour. Place onto a large piece of baking paper. Roll the pastry out so it is around 30cm (12 inch) in diameter. Invert a 20cm (8 inch) pie tin on top of the pastry then flip the whole thing over so the pastry is now in the pie tin. Peel away the baking paper and gently coax the edges of the pastry into the tin.
- Trim the edges of the pastry and place the lined pie tin into the freezer for 30-40 minutes.
Make the frangipane:
- Heat the butter in a small pot over a medium-low heat. Once melted, keep cooking it until it has foamed up and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until lukewarm.115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- In a medium bowl, combine the cooled, browned butter, 120g ground walnuts, granulated sugar, flour, egg white, egg, vanilla and salt. Mix to get a thick paste.115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 120 g ground walnuts, 80 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar, 40 g (1/3 cup) plain white flour, 1 egg white, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp fine table salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Assemble the tart:
- Preheat the oven to 160C fan (180C non-fan).
- Remove the lined pie tin from the freezer and scrape in the frangipane. Spread out into an even layer. Decorate with the thinly sliced pears, fanning them out slightly before gently pushing into the tart.2-3 small, firm pears
- Brush the edges of the pastry with milk then sprinkle the crust and pears with a light layer of demerara sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is deep golden.milk, demerara sugar (raw sugar/cane sugar)
- Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
2 thoughts on “Pear Walnut Frangipane Tart”
I love the appearance and ingredients for this tart and am going to try and make it. Can you tell me if the pastry recipe would be sufficient to cover a 9-inch (22.86cm) pie or tart dish rather than the specified 8-inch? My tart pan is only 1 1/8-inch (2.85cm) deep. Would that be sufficient to hold the frangipane and layer the pear slices? Thank you!
Yes you should be fine with the pastry as there is excess around the edges! The filling may be a little less full so you could add more pears to the top to make up for that!
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