Pear & kamahi honey frangipane tart
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.
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)
- 3 pears, peeled, halved, cored and sliced
- a little extra honey dissolved in hot water to brush the pears with (optional)
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.