This delicious dessert balances rich buttery pastry with tart and jammy pears, bitter almonds and a delicate saffron twang to create an unforgettable dish. There’s only 1 thing that can make it better – a huge dollop of double cream!
- 250g (1 3/4 cup) plain flour
- 125g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
- 1 free range egg
- 20ml icy cold water
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 free range egg
- 1 free range egg yolk
- 100g almond meal
- 40g plain flour
- 3 large pears
- 500ml water
- 60ml dessert wine (e.g. botrytis Semillon)
- 70g caster sugar
- 70g honey
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1/2 star anise
- 1/2 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 3 threads of saffron
Process flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the egg and water, then slowly pour into the processor until the dough comes together, being very careful not to overwork the mix. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and 5cm or so larger than a 30cm flan tin. Using an offcut of pastry, press into the edges of the tin so the pastry sits flush. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edge of the pastry, and prick the base with a fork. Rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours. To blind bake, place a large sheet of baking paper on the tart case and fill with baking beads (or try rice or dry beans). Bake at 220C (200C fan forced) for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly brown. Allow to cool.
Peel and quarter pears, then remove core. Place in a small sauce pan with water, wine, sugar, honey, lemon juice and zest and spices. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 minutes until just tender. Remove pears and let cool before slicing each quarter into 3mm slices, cross ways. Continue to boil poaching liquid until reduced to 1/3 cup, then strain.
For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk slowly and beat until just incorporated. Gently fold in almond meal and flour, then spoon into prepared tart case and smooth using the back of a spoon. Arrange pears on top and bake at 180C (160C fan forced) for 30 minutes, or until frangipane is set.
Allow to cool and glaze (using a pastry brush) with poaching syrup, before turning out and serving with a generous dollop of double cream.