A Tart for all Seasons

This tart is my fallback pudding; it is utterly delicious and easy to do once you’ve tried it a few times. I had ample opportunity to do so when I worked in the restaurant and had to make 4 every morning for about 8 months. It’s also incredibly versatile; you can substitute any seasonal fruit. It works best with ripe apricots, pears, apples, plums, raspberries and blackberries. Rhubarb is a bit too wet sadly, but feel free to try anything else. Except bananas….

Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart

First make the pastry:

350g plain flour

225g butter

100g icing sugar

3 egg yolks.

Pulse the butter and icing sugar and flour in a magimix till it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add the egg yolks all in one and pulse until it comes together as one lump, with no dry bits. Try not to overmix or the pastry will be tough. Also, if using small eggs you may need an extra yolk or two, which is fine, just don’t be tempted to add water. When it comes together wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. You will  only need half for one tart, keep the rest for next time. Take your loose-bottomed tart tin and grate half of the chilled pastry into it, using a normal grater. This helps the pastry to stay crisp. Press the grated pastry into the tin until it forms an even smooth layer, about a pound’s thickness. Chill again for at least 40 mins. Heat oven to 180, and bake the pastry case blind (no baking beans needed) for about 10 mins, until golden and crisp all over. Leave aside to cool

Now the frangipane:

300g softened butter

300g caster sugar

3 eggs

300g ground almonds

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (if you have a kitchenaid it’s much easier) Beat in the ground almonds, then beat in the eggs a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Chill the mixture for a while. When the pastry is cool, spread your frangipane mixture over the case evenly, and press in slices of peeled pear/apple in a pattern of your choosing. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake at 160 for about 45mins-1 hour, until golden all over, and set in the middle. Leave to cool to room temperature, then serve with cream/creme fraiche and extra poached fruit, if you fancy.

You can also add a snifter of booze into the frangipane if you like; I recommend kirsch or amaretto.

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