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Pear & kamahi honey frangipane tart

October 17, 2011

There’s no doubt I’ve been having an unofficial honey fest recently. There have even been several cakes made partially with honey I haven’t posted, as I test and taste and edge my way towards type II diabetes (I kid…hopefully). I’ve not been very good so far at sticking to the things I meant to make *gulp* but I will spare you the embarrassingly long boring details of my dessert making decisions. Suffice to say this tart was born out of necessity, as boggling as that may be (it’s sugar-induced dessert logic I’ll admit).

Unlike in the macaron fillings I posted about recently, honey plays a major leading role flavour-wise in this tart. The smell of this baking sent me into an actual daze, and awesomely, it tasted every bit as good as it sniffed. Though I don’t like cooking honey, I’ve had such good flavour results baking with it that I could easily justify using the rest of my Kamahi honey. Describing the flavour is quite difficult – this tart is nice and toffee-ish and rich and malty, and while the honey plays along well with all that, it also has this relieving note that prevents this tart from being too cloying for spring. Wouldn’t go so far as to say refreshing, but it’s the key to avoiding the sweet-but-boring train. It ends up making for an elegantly looking and tasting dessert. Especially if you cut the pears so they look like honey dippers :D

Like macarons, this tart can be a bit finicky if you think you’re super smart and don’t need to follow the rules. Above is the not-so-elegant side of my tart which is where half the side of my tart shell collapsed during baking (I make the tart shells as thin as I can). Lesson: blind baking has a very real purpose beyond preventing pastry puffage. To save this, I lined my tart pan with foil and placed the tart shell in that, then poured the frangipane over. When cooking it spilled over the edge a little, but it’s not super runny so it ended up being fine.

Perhaps most importantly: bake the crust until adequately brown. Pale tart shells tend to taste pretty bland, and go soft the next day. Browning them helps dry them out a bit more so they perform their function (keeping the filling encased), add a crispy texture to the bottom (especially on the day of baking), and lend a nice caramelly flavour to the tart. Mine looks overcooked but didn’t taste it at all. Underbaking would kill this tart, so I urge you to let your base get a nice tan. My frangipane top is also a bit browner (also because I used blond cane sugar), but didn’t taste bitter at all. A note about the frangipane: where it’s brown, it’s quite crispy on the day it’s baked, and the pale yellow bits are still quite custardy in texture – not as firm as ones I’ve baked in the past. Use whatever your favourite frangipane filling is (I’ve seen ones made with hazelnut flour instead of ground almonds, YUM), especially any that work well with wet fruits. Speaking of fruit, apple would also work nicely in place of pear if that’s what you have on hand.

Pear & honey frangipane tart

makes one thin 9″ tart – use a 9.5″ or 10″ tart pan

Crust (makes enough for two, freeze half)

  • 1 1/2 c plain flour
  • 1/2 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113g very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg

Grease the base and sides of your 10″ tart pan.

Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor until there are no butter lumps larger than pea sized. Pulse in egg until large clumps of dough form. Tip mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into two balls with your hands. Flatten into discs, and cover in plastic or place in a plastic container. Freeze one to use for another use. If the other disc is still cold to the touch, you may proceed, if not, refrigerate while you make the filling.

Flour a working surface (or roll dough out on a totally flat baking tray that’s been in the freezer), and roll dough out to an 11″ circle, doing a quarter turn every few rolls to ensure your dough isn’t sticking. Try to keep flour to a minimum. Once this starts getting thin it’ll be easy to tear, so be very gentle. Fold the large circle in half, then in half again, place in your pan, and unfold gently. Use a glass to help easy the dough into the corners. Nip off the edges, and place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the filling.

Preheat your oven to 180C with a rack centred.

Filling

Frangipane (use your favourite recipe if you like, substituting half the sugar with a firm honey)

  • 85g butter, softened
  • 1/3 c blond cane sugar
  • 1/3 c firm honey (I used Kamahi, courtesy of J Friend & Co) – this is a pain to measure so I guesstimated with a 1/3c measure in sight :P
  • 3/4c ground almonds (best to use commercially ground as they are finer and the resulting frangipane will be smoother)
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp cornflour (the white stuff)
  • 1 very large egg
  • 1 tsp real vanilla (optional)
Beat butter, sugar and honey until combined, then beat in almonds, flour & cornstarch. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. The consistency should be like a butter-based cake batter – light at room temperature, but it will not “pour” without a little encouragement from your spatula.
  • 3 pears, peeled, halved, cored and sliced
  • a little extra honey dissolved in hot water to brush the pears with (optional)
Once you’ve got all these ready, your pastry should be done. Line the pastry with foil, using a glass to get the foil into the edges of the pastry. Pour  in some dry beans or rice, and bake for about fifteen minutes. Remove the foil and weights (You can use the rice and beans again), and return to oven for another five minutes or until the middle is lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
Scrape the frangipane filling into the tart shell, and smooth out with a spatula. Fan pear slices on a metal spatula or cleaver and shimmy onto the frangipane. Brush very lightly with honeyed water if you like, then pop back in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven. Mine was quite brown on one side at the 30 minute mark so I turned it around, reduced the temperature by 20 degrees, and kept baking until a skewer inserted into the frangipane in the centre came out clean.
Cool completely before serving. Dust with icing sugar if you like, and serve with something not too sweet. Tangy greek yogurt (plain or lemony), mascarpone or barely-sweetened whipped cream would work beautifully with this.

Currently Clickalicious

Baked Quinoa Patties @ 101 Cookbooks

Vegan Dulce De Leche @ Rosewater & Thyme

Honey sesame cake @ Of Dreams and Sweets

Chestnut cake with pan roasted pears and chestnut honey syrup @ Food & Style

Coffee Gateau with hazelnut praline crunch @ Spoons n Spades

Foodie favourites at the moment

Itching to return to The Brewery for some more of their delicious woodfired pizzas, with really yummy, unique toppings that reflect the seasons (friends & I loved the buttery leek & balsamic mushroom pizza).  The bases go really soft on the plates though so maybe I’ll bring my own wooden chopping board XD Quite liked the cider I stole from a friend’s glass too – so refreshing and nice and mild for me – perfect for summer.

EDIT: I have also entered this, a bit belatedly (because I have a useless memory), for Sweet NZ. Thanks to Sue at Couscous & Consciousness for hosting this month!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 12:57 pm

    Love frangipani tarts, they are among my favourites :-).

    Getting ready for the South, I need to pack, is it cold there?
    Also on the schedule an appearance at the Ohoka Farmers market on Friday morning, and the Oxford Farmers Market on Sunday morning. Do you have any friends/contacts there that I could invite?

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  2. October 17, 2011 1:06 pm

    A: You should definitely try the one at Yahagi Patisserie, not far from the Children’s Bookshop. Actually if you like your desserts not too sweet, they are the bomb :) The high today is 17 but that’s pretty warm for Christchurch right now! Also the wind/shade is still unpleasantly freezing :P Bron is out that way, but I guess you already knew that.

  3. October 17, 2011 7:59 pm

    I have just found your lovely site via Feast Magazine. I love the look of that tart, delicious. I love to connect with other wordpress foodie bloggers. Thanks for sharing. I will have to pop back and have a big long look around your site. x

  4. October 17, 2011 8:00 pm

    I am from Christchurch, New Zealand also. ;)

  5. October 17, 2011 8:48 pm

    It looks soooooo delicious !!
    I love the combination with honey, this one is definitely for me :)

  6. October 18, 2011 5:07 am

    That’s extraordinary!

  7. October 18, 2011 2:15 pm

    Honey, pears and almonds – what a wonderful combination and your tart looks wonderful!

  8. October 19, 2011 11:07 pm

    This is a gorgeous tart, Zo. Great use for those end of season pears. Beautiful photos, and all your extra instructions were really helpful.

    I’d love you to share this with this month’s Sweet New Zealand – we have info and a link-up open here http://couscous-consciousness.blogspot.com/2011/10/sweet-new-zealand.html

    Sue xo

  9. October 19, 2011 11:50 pm

    B: Yay, thank you for commenting! Let me know if you’d be keen to join the Christchurch food bloggers for an afternoon tea or something when it’s a bit warmer!

    W: The honey really does add another wonderful dimension :) Hope it works out well for you if you try it!

    R: Cheers!

    B: Thanks, although it was a bit of a trainwreck on one side…the joys of tight composition hehe.

    C: I was actually going to submit this but then forgot to put the logo in! Is it still possible to add it in? Thanks for hosting this month :)

  10. October 21, 2011 9:24 pm

    What a beautiful, beautiful tart. Such great advice about really baking the base- there’s nothing worse than a soggy bottom…

  11. October 24, 2011 1:26 pm

    Hi Zo – just stopping by again to say thanks so much for sharing this at Sweet New Zealand this month.
    Sue xo

  12. October 27, 2011 12:58 am

    This looks stunning!

  13. November 11, 2011 9:49 am

    Hi Zo, Your Frangipane tart recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. Congrats again!! :) To play, go here: http://knapkins.com/guess_games/500?source=blog

  14. July 31, 2013 6:58 am

    Zo, I’ve had this on my to-make list for like 2 years..Well since you first posted this. Finally, in my small home-style cafe in Norman Wells, it’s being done – I’m serving it tomorrow. Lame, honey here sucks so no awesome Kamahi like you have, nor any nice firm alternative, just Busy Bee runny honey (cough cough). So far it seems like runny is working out ok. The frangipane is in the fridge, the pastry rolled and chilling… and I’m so looking forward to a slice myself, with greek yogurt :)

  15. July 31, 2013 8:28 am

    Ohhh that is so nice to hear, thank you. I do hope you love it as much as I do. A great reminder to take on a pepper baking project, I have really been doing a lot of last baking recently heh.

Trackbacks

  1. Friday’s Favourite Five | Time for a Little Something
  2. pear & honey frangipane tart | De La Casa

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