A perfect way to end a meal, this is light enough not to leave you feeling too full
- 375g (13oz) sweet shortcrust pastry (bought is fine)
- 4 pears, peeled
- 75g (3oz) caster sugar
- 300ml (½pt) dessert wine (we used Moscatel)
- 3tbsp apricot jam, to glaze
- 200g (7oz) whole blanched almonds
- 150g (5oz) caster sugar
- 125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 28cm (11in) fluted tart tin, and baking beans
Heat the oven to 190C, 170C fan, 375F, gas 5. To make the base, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tin, leaving an overhang of pastry round the top. Chill the pastry for 15 minutes then line with foil and baking beans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the base is lightly golden. Trim the overhanging pastry to form a blunt edge.
Meanwhile, prepare the pears. Place them in a pan with the sugar and wine, add 300ml (½pt) water and gently simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the fruit has softened. Drain the fruit and slice each pear into 6, removing the core with a teaspoon.
To make the frangipane, whizz the almonds in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside. Whizz the sugar and butter then add the eggs and almonds. Fill the pastry case with the almond filling and arrange the pears on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4, until the frangipane is golden brown and risen. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Melt the jam very gently in a saucepan, then sieve it.
When the tart is cooked, let it cool for 5 minutes, then glaze all over with the jam. TO SERVE Serve the tart warm, or allow it to cool to room temperature and serve with crème fraîche. It can be served the day after, when it will become chewier, but no less delicious. Keep it in an airtight container.