Published September 1, 2002.
A soggy crust, sodden filling, and lackluster pears often afflict this French classic. Made right, it's the perfect marriage of flavors and textures.
A whole day of preparation is required to make this tart, and the risks are great: a soggy crust, a coarse, wet frangipane (almond filling) heavy-handedly flavored with almond extract, and tasteless poached pears that either retain too much crunch or are soft to the point of listlessness.
Satin-ribbon slices of tender, sweet, perfumed poached pears embedded in a sweet, nutty, rich, fragrant, custard-cake almond filling, all contained in a crisp, buttery pastry.
Poach ripe yet firm Bosc or Bartlett pears, which we found had the best flavor, in white wine spiced with a cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, whole cloves, and a vanilla bean. For the frangipane, grind blanched slivered almonds in a food processor with sugar so that they can be ground superfine without becoming greasy. Spread the frangipane into a prebaked tart pastry shell, then add the pears. Make sure to dry the pears before setting them on the frangipane—otherwise, they will release moisture, turning the dessert sticky and wet. Slice the pear halves into thin crosswise slices for good looks and easy eating. Once the tart is baked, glaze the pears with apple jelly for a glossy, shiny finish.list of recipes