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Pear frangipane tart

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
By Karoline Boehm Goodnick
Globe Correspondent / November 24, 2010

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Serves 8

This tart looks like it was crafted in one of Paris’s top patisseries. Select pears that are firm but ripe; overripe fruit will fall apart during baking. Let the dough rest sufficiently while mixing the frangipane (an almond cream) and preparing the fruit. Line a French tart pan with the pastry and almond cream (store overnight in the refrigerator at this point, if you like), then arrange pears in a circle and bake the next day.

CRUST

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Extra flour (for sprinkling)

1. Have on hand a 9-inch tart pan with removable base.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk, cream the butter and sugar until soft and light. Add the yolk, and when the mixture is smooth, beat in the cream. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt. Mix until the dough forms large moist clumps (it should not form a ball). Turn them out onto a lightly floured counter. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 10-inch round. Lift the pastry onto the rolling pin and lay on the tart pan. Ease the dough into the pan, pressing it firmly into the edges. Roll the pin over the top to cut off excess dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FRANGIPANE

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon flour
Pinch of salt
1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until soft and light. Add the egg and mix well. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. Beat in the almonds, flour, and salt.

FILLING

4 ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 teaspoon water
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Using an offset or rubber spatula, spread the frangipane evenly in the pastry.

2. Arrange the pear slices overlapping, pointing the narrow ends toward the center and pressing the slices lightly into the frangipane.

3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, rotating from front to back halfway through baking. The filling will be firm and golden; if the crust is browning too quickly during baking, cover the edges with foil.

4. Remove the tart from the oven, and place it on a wire rack.

5. In a small saucepan, combine apricot jam and water. Stir over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until the jam loosens. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the tart with the glaze.

6. Cool the tart completely. Set it on a bowl so the rim falls off. Cut into wedges.