As a dessert fruit, I like pears even better than apples. And so when my parents gifted us with a huge bag of Bosc pears from the Waterdown Farmers’ Market, I started looking for ways to use them. This pear and almond tart from Cook’s Illustrated is quite possibly, the perfect fall dessert.
Since I had so many pears, and because I just happen to have two 11”-inch tart pans with removable bottoms, I decided to make two. The recipe comes from the Sep 2002 issue. First up was the frangipane. Let’s just say that skinning 8 oz of almonds doesn’t take a lot of time if you have Netflix. I made this the night before and put it in the fridge.
The next evening, Dr. S made the poached pears, while I made the crust dough. We had a partial Chardonnay-Viognier bottle, and mixed that with a pear fruit wine from Kawartha Country Wine for the poaching liquid. I was pleased to note that the pate sucree dough uses the egg yolks leftover from the frangipane, avoiding any leftover egg. Do allow enough time to make, chill, roll, chill again, bake and cool the tart shells. This is the most time-consuming step.
Assembly is easy and straightforward. My two tart shells were of different depths, and the frangipane in the shallower one browned more than the deeper one, so check for doneness at the minimum time.
This is a classic French tart, and absolutely deserves its popularity. I loved the aromatic, soft pears atop the custardy, nutty frangipane. While there were hardly any leftovers from the tart brought to the office during the day, or the second one devoured in the evening at a potluck, I found the tart to hold up pretty well the next day. This recipe is a lot of work, but highly recommended.