A bit of background first. I have been harboring a pear recipe [in Hungarian] among my files and the new pear tree’s first substantial crop seemed like a good time to try out everything to do with pears. Well not everything, because we can’t eat as fast as I can bake. I followed the recipe; reluctantly… because at closer examination it called for way too much butter… and sure enough the finished tart was swimming in it. I made a few changes and the second tart turned out better, except the pear flavour got lost under all the sweet. Meanwhile I discovered the same pear tart in English, and the common thread that ran through them was butter and more butter and sugar... lots of it. What do they say, third time lucky?

There is more though. The tart itself is a frangipani in Italian and a crème frangipane in French. And yes it’s buttery. I tend to believe the Italian origin, [French cuisine owes much of its splendor to the Italians] and this is basically an almond cream. Used as a filling in tarts, cakes and assorted pastries; consisting of creamed butter and sugar and eggs and very finely ground almonds. Sounds like the almond layer of British Bakewell tarts don’t it? Now we come full circle; Hungarian, Italian and British with a bit of French appropriation… The interesting thing is the recipes failed to mention just how FINE the “ground almonds” have to be. Well, fine, as fine as for marzipan. To simply put, “ground almonds” won’t do, what you need is ALMOND MEAL!

Then yesterday it dawned on me I am now in the possession of the the best almond pear tart recipe ever... in any language!

Almond Pear Tart

3 fresh ripe but not soft pears

1-1/2 + 1/8 cups flour
sprinkle of salt
1/2 cup butter, soft [not melted!]
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 egg, whisked by fork

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 pkg. real vanilla sugar
sprinkle of salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups almond meal [extremely finely ground almonds]

  • Make the pastry first.
  • Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk.
  • By hand rub soft butter into the flour.
  • Mix in the grated lemon rinds.
  • Add the whisked egg and kneed into the flour mixture.
  • The warmth of your hands will help bring the dough together.
  • Flatten into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
  • Wash, peel, cut in half and core the pears.
  • Submerge pears in simmering water. 
  • If the pears are somewhat unripe, blanching could take up to 20 minutes. Do not use overripe pears that are already soft to the touch.
  • Blanch the pears for 5-10 minutes, or until almost tender when pierced with a fork. They will continue to soften as they cool.
  • Transfer pears to paper to a paper towel lined tray to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Next bring the chilled pastry out and place on a parchment lined work surface.
  • Press down on it to flatten.
  • Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and roll out a large circle to fit your pie plate.
  • Place a larger bowl on the top and cut around the bowl.
  • Set aside the pastry scraps these can be re rolled for tarts.
  • Carefully warp the pastry around the roller and transfer to the pie plate.
  • Gently press the pastry into the pie plate and poke all over with fork.
  • Place back in the fridge for 15 minutes while you make the frangipani.
  • Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt for 4 minutes.
  • Gradually beat in the eggs.
  • Beat for 2 more minutes longer.
  • Add the almond meal and beat to combine.
  • Take out the chilled pie plate with the pastry and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • Keep the oven on and remove the prebaked pie crust.
  • Let the pastry cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile slice into the pear halves horizontally, but do not cut through.
  • Fill the pastry with the frangipani.
  • Gently arrange the pear halves over the frangipani layer. The pears will sink down somewhat.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake until the frangipani is lightly browned. The time required depends on the size and the depth of your pie plate.
  • Remove the tart from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Slice the tart when completely cooled.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!