This Pear Almond Tart is a classic, straight from the streets of Paris.
- 4 firm bosc pears
- 4 cup water
- 1½ cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for filling
- 1½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon almond liqueur
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- ½ cup blanched almond slices, divided
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 6 ounce almond paste
- 13 tablespoon butter, cubed
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ½ cup powder confectioners sugar
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1¼ all-purpose flour, plus 2 teaspoons more for filling
Prepare the pears: Peel the pears and halve them lengthwise. Using a melon baller remove the core. Bring 4 cups water, 1 ½ cups sugar, and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add split vanilla bean and pears. Cover with a round of parchment paper, with a small hole cut in the center. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
Prepare the crust: Pulse the powdered sugar, ¼ cup almond slices, and salt in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add 8 tablespoons butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Mix in egg yolk. Add 1 ¼ cup flour. Pulse the machine several times until dough comes together in clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Prepare the almond filling: In a stand mixer, beat the almond paste with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and the remaining 2 teaspoons flour, until smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, and the liquor. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)
Bake the tart shell: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 10 minutes.
Line crust with parchment paper, then fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove parchment and beans. Bake crust until sides are golden and bottom is set, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 10 minutes longer. Cool crust in pan on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Pepare the tart: Spread almond filling evenly in crust. Cut each pear half lengthwise into thin slices. Gently press each pear slice in an attractive pattern slightly overlapping each other in places into the almond filling. Sprinkle the top with the remaining almond slices.
Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.