This pear almond tart, made with pears, ground almonds, and a sweet pastry dough, is a classic French dessert. Easy yet elegant. A terrific autumn recipe.
Though French in origin, this classic pear almond tart knows no bounds in terms of its appeal. While we appreciate the taste and that’s what prompts us to make it again and again, we also swoon to the sleek elongated lines of the tart. [Editor’s Note: The only trick to recreating them at home is not everyone has a 13-inch rectangular tart pan like the one shown in the photo above. Thankfully this recipe also works quite admirably in a good old 11-inch round tart pan.] Sometimes the pears are simply halved, but it looks more attractive if they are sliced.–Laura Washburn
Pear Almond Tart
- 13-by-4-inch (33-by-10-cm) rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom or 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom
For the pastry dough
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan and the work surface
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and cubed, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
For the pear and almond filling
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup 3 1/2 oz ground almonds or almond meal
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 ripe pears peeled, cored, and thickly sliced into wedges
- Vanilla ice cream homemade or store-bought, to serve
Make the pastry dough
- Place the flour, sugar, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is just combined (somewhere between 5 and 10 pulses). Add 4 tablespoons water and pulse just until the dough holds together. If necessary, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough begins to clump. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Butter and lightly flour an 13-by-4-inch (33-by-10-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom or an 11-inch (28-cm) round tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Roll out the pastry dough on a floured work surface to a circle slightly larger than the tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan. Gently press the dough into the pan. Roll a rolling pin over the top, using the edge of the pan as a cutting surface, and let the excess pastry fall away. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Prick the pastry all over with the tines of a fork, line it with parchment paper, and fill with baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and weights and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until golden. Let cool to room temperature before filling.
Make the pear and almond filling
- Decrease the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
- In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a handheld or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the almonds, flour, and vanilla seeds or extract and mix just until combined. Spoon the filling into the partially baked pastry shell and smooth the surface.
- Arrange the pear slices on top of the almond mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
If you’re looking for a not too sweet but thoroughly rich dessert, this pear almond tart is a perfect choice. The subtle flavors of the almond and pear are perfect complements to one another and provide a sophisticated stage for vanilla ice cream.
I believe most any pear variety would work well with this recipe—I used Forelle pears—so long as you start with a fairly firm ripe pear so it doesn’t disintegrate in the oven. Also, I think you could easily substitute your favorite pastry dough for the base—maybe even a shortbread if you want to up the sweetness a bit. I would’ve made the pastry a tad sweeter given that the filling is really subtle in flavor. I used closer to 6 tablespoons water for the pastry dough. To cut down on prep time, I used Trader Joe’s ground almond meal.
Pears and almonds are a fabulous combination, and this pear almond tart blends the two ingredients well. The crust is lightly sweet and not too thick, and the tart filling has enough almond flavor yet doesn’t overpower the pears.
I used ripe Bartlett pears and the tenderness of the pear worked well with this tart. I cut the pears in both thick and thin slices. I preferred the thinner slices that were placed together more closely than the thicker slices. It was also somewhat easier to arrange the pears into a pretty pattern with the thinner slices. The pears don’t really take on much color and a less ripe pear may still be a little raw in the middle if it’s sliced on the thicker side.
I had some extra filling left over and made a small crustless tart; it was also delicious and perfect for when I wanted something a little less sweet. When I initially tried the tart, I thought it needed a little more almond flavor, but after trying the tart when it’d cooled to room temperature I thought it was fine as-is. In the pastry crust, I used 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and found that to be sufficient. I ended up using closer to 5 tablespoons water to get the pastry dough to stick together more easily.
Originally published November 11, 2018