Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Pear & Almond Tart

With a classic flavour combination, this Pear and Almond Tart not only looks inviting but also tastes amazing.  This frangipane tart, which was glazed with a little apricot jam to produce a wonderful sheen to the bake, was made to mark #BakeACakeForBowelCancerAwarenessMonth.

Pear and Almond Tart recipe

Cancer.  It's a word which conjures fear and dread in the vast majority of us.  Being a disease which can affect any part of our body, it's something which most of us will be familiar with, either having experienced it ourselves or through having a family member or friend who's been affected by it.

Now, I don't often talk about melancholic subjects here on Only Crumbs Remain, after all it is a baking blog.  But when I learnt that April is Be a Star, Bake a Cake for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month I knew instantly that I wanted to embrace it here on the blog.

It's the fourth most common cancer in the UK (and the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK) with over 41,000 people being diagnosed with it each year.   That's 1 in 14 men, and 1 in 19 women. (Information from Bowel Cancer UK).

One of those people was my dad.

17 years ago, back in spring of 2000, we received the news nobody wants to hear.  Dad needed major surgery and 6 months of chemo.  It was a difficult time for all of us, but especially for dad, clearly.  But due to the fantastic skill of the surgeons, oncologists, strength of body (he was only in his early 50's at the time) and mind and a lot of TLC, he came through it.

Happily he's still with us to tell the tale.     
How to make a classic pear and almond tart

This April, Bowel Cancer UK are focusing on bowel cancer screening (though their site also contains a lot of helpful information about symptoms and maintaining bowel health as well).  OK, bowel cancer screening isn't the most pleasant of subjects and thoughts but they're designed to be carried out at home and are therefore non invasive.  These tests are so important,  they can detect the early signs and changes before symptoms appear.

This screening wasn't available before Dad's story, but had it been I'm more than sure it would have been far less traumatic for him and the family.  It's entirely possible the cancer would have been detected before it had developed.  Before it had entered his lymph nodes and fatty tissue.  Before the need for major surgery.  Before the need for chemo.

My reason for sharing this with you, with Dad's consent, is not for sympathy or anything like that at all.  But rather to encourage you to use the screening test pack when you're old enough to receive one.  Surprisingly in certain areas of the UK only a third of people complete it.  It could be the best thing you ever did!   

How to make a classic pear and almond tart

Be a Star, Bake a Cake for Cancer Awareness Month is designed to raise awareness of and funds for the vital research and lifesaving work that Bowel Cancer UK do.  They have teamed up with 11 top celebrity chefs and bakers to share some fabulously tasty treats which could feature in your fund raising event, from Brian Turner's Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake to Eric Lanyard's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes and even a healthier option of Sweet Potato Brownies from Deliciously Ella.

But for me, the bake which caught my attention was Michel Roux Jnr's Pear and Almond Tarte, or if you fancy being posh Tarte aux Pares Bourdaloue!   Not only did it provide a lovely change following all of the Easter chocolate over indulgence but it also played to my fondness of making pastry and of frangipane.

How to make a simple pear tart tart with frangipane filling

Almonds and pears are such a classic combination.  They work so beautifully well together.  And when the pears are poached lightly in a simple syrup containing vanilla and cinnamon the whole tart really comes alive.   The flaked almonds provide a lovely contrast of texture and once finished with a glaze of apricot jam the whole bake looks incredibly inviting, perfect for a bake sale or a simple afternoon tea with friends and family as we did.

How to make a simple pear tart tart with frangipane filling

Now, although Michele Roux Jnr's recipe is lovely, I admit that I tweaked it a little.  I wanted something which both Mum and Dad would feel largely guilt free about eating.  Something which is a little kinder to the body.  And therefore I adjusted the pastry by removing the butter and replacing it with sunflower oil, a tweak which reduces the saturated fat content but one which works surprisingly well, like when I made our Apple Rose Tart and our Vegan Beetroot and Lentil Pie.      

So, here's how to make a classic Pear and Almond Tart!

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Classic Pear & Almond Tart
With a classic flavour combination, this Pear and Almond Tart not only looks inviting but also tastes amazing.  The frangipane was glazed with a little apricot jam to produce a wonderful sheen.

Hands on time: around Bake time:     Yield: 1 x 21cm tart, serving 8 people.

Specific Equipment
    1 x 21cm loose bottomed tart case

For the Pastry
  • 200g Plain Flour + extra for rolling
  • 80g Ground Almonds
  • 60g Icing Sugar  
  • pinch Salt
  • 70ml Sunflower Oil (or light olive oil, vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, groundnut oil) 
  • 5-6 tbsp Water 
For Poached Pears
  • about 300ml - 400ml Water
  • 1 Vanilla Pod, split
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Pears (we used Concorde) 
For the Frangipane Filling
  • 115g Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 115g Caster Sugar
  • 115g Ground Almonds
  • 115g Eggs, lightly beaten (about 2 large eggs)

To finish the Pear Tart
  •  small handful Flaked Almonds
  • 2 tsp Apricot Jam (ideally smooth) blended with a drop or two of water to slacken

1. Prepare and poach the pears. Pour the water into a moderately sized pan.  Add the sugar, split vanilla pod and cinnamon stick.  Place onto the hob over a medium heat to allow the sugar to dissolve.  Stir occasionally.  Meanwhile peel the pears.  Slice them into quarters through the 'poles'.  Remove the core.  Once the sugar in the pan of water has dissolved, gently place the pear quarters into the pan.  Poach the pears gently for about 15 minutes until they feel tender once a sharp knife is inserted.  Turn the heat off and allow the pears to cool with the water.2. Make the pastry. Meanwhile, place the flour, ground almonds, icing sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.  Use your hands to combine the ingredients.  Pour in the oil.  Add 3 tbsp cold water.  Use a knife to cut through the ingredients to create a dough.  Add a little more water as necessary to bring it together, though only add a little at a time so as to avoid making the pastry too wet.  Bring the dough together into a ball and flatten to a disc.  Wrap in clingfilm and set aside to rest for about an hour.3. Preheat the oven to 200℃/ Fan 180℃/ Gas 6.  Place a baking sheet into the oven large enough to house the tart case. 4. Line the tart case.  Lightly dust the work surface with flour.  Roll out the pastry into a circle about 4mm thick.  Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry into the tart case.  Use your fingertips and knuckle to gently fit the pastry to the tart case.   Avoid stretching it. Use a clean pair of scissors to trim away most of the excess pastry (the final trim will be done once blind baked and the risk of shrinkage reduced).  Carefully place the lined tart case into the fridge to rest for about 20 - 30 minutes. 5. Blind bake the pastry. Use a fork to prick the pastry base.  Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to line the pastry case.  Scrunch it up.  Open it out.  Fill it with baking beans, uncooked rice or pasta. Place the pastry case into the oven on the heated baking sheet.  Bake for 13 minutes.  Remove it from the oven.  Use a sharp knife to trim away the excess pastry.  Return the pastry case to the oven (without the greaseproof paper and baking beans).  Bake for a further 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling tray.  Keep the oven on and the baking tray in the oven.6. Make the frangipane.  With a stand mixer, electric beaters or wooden spoon beat the butter until its soft.  Add the sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy.  Add the ground almonds and beat to combine.  Add the lightly beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.7. Assemble the pear tart.  Carefully remove the poached pears from the poaching liquor.  Place them onto some absorbant kitchen roll.  Dab gently to dry.  Spoon the franipane filling into the blind baked pastry case.  Use the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture.  Arrange the drained pears on top of the frangipane with the pointed ends pointing towards the centre.  There's no need to push the pears into the frangipane.  Scatter the flaked almonds over the frangipane, moving the almond flakes which land on the pears themselves. 8. Bake. Place the tart into the oven on the baking sheet.  Bake for about 35 minutes until a good golden brown.  You may need to rotate the tart after about 20-25 minutes of baking.  Use a skewer or tooth pick to test if the frangipane is cooked through.  Remove the tart from the oven and place onto a cooling rack.  Use a pastry brush to carefully brush the apricot jam over the surface of the frangipane. 9. Enjoy either warm or cold with cream or on its own. 
a)  Use a ready bought pastry case if you prefer.

Pin Pear & Almond Tart for later!

How to make a classic pear tart with frangipane filling

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This post has been shared with: 

Cook Once Eat Twice, hosted by Corina at Searching for Spice 

Bake of the Week, co-hosted by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps and Helen at Casa Costello
Hijacked By Twins Link up your recipe of the week



  1. It's lovely you baked this to raise awareness for cancer. I'm so happy for you, that you still have your dad with you and that he beat this terrible disease. Hugs xx

  2. so pleased to hear that your dad made it through.
    That tart is really gorgeous looking, and your photos are fab!

    1. Thankyou Helen, he's still has check ups periodically and is doing really well happily :-)
      Angela xx

  3. This looks divine, the photo's you've captured are excellent too. Love the new look to your website. Will be trying this GF xxx #CookBlogShare

    1. Aw thankyou so much Rebecca :-)
      I hope you enjoy it as much as we have,
      Angela x

  4. This is a great post Angela, very personal and touching, raising awareness is so very important especially as you say so many people ignore the screening pack. The recipe is fabulous, I love that you've swapped butter for oil in the pastry,and I absolutely love the pear-almond combination. Thanks for sharing with #CookBlogShare:)

    1. Thankyou Monika, it seems such a shame so many people choose not to us the screening packs when it could potentially catch a cancer so early on. It just seemed so right to both Dad & I to share his story here.
      Pear and almond is such an amazing combination - I just love frangipane!
      Thanks for your lovely comments Monika,
      Angela x

  5. Your pear tart tart looks delicious Angela, I love anything frangipane. The new bowel cancer screening is a real life saver, we've just had a terrible few weeks waiting for news of a close friend's results. Luckily, the growth was caught just in time and removed, the cells were turning. It is so important that more people are aware of the new test and complete it, our friend almost didn't go as he was too busy with work.

    1. I'm so happy to hear that your friend had a good outcome Sarah :-) That simple screening test is so immensley valuable. I believe that they're even introducing an improved version of it soon too!
      Ooh I'm just the same, I can't resist anything with frangipane! So yummy!
      Angela xx

  6. Oh, I'm so glad your dad made it through. CT's dad sadly didn't. He was only in his early 60s. It's a cruel disease. Your pear tart looks amazing though and a slice of this would be very welcome right now. Frangipane tarts are one of my favourites, but they're a rarity here as they're a bit of a faff to make. #CookBlogShare

    1. Aw I'm so sorry to hear about your father in law Chocolette, you're right it is cruel. All cancers are cruel. Yes, I have to admit that there are a few elements to making one, but personally I think it's well worth that bit of extra time they take as they are scrummy as you say,
      Angela x

  7. what a lovely story behind your making this gorgeous looking tart Angela. I am so happy for you and your family, and your dad that he has fought cancer and has had 17 years cancer free :) fantastic. The tart looks divine and the flavours go so well together, plus it has such a perfect golden colour to it. Thank you for linking to #bakeoftheweek xx

    1. Thankyou Jenny, it's fantastic that he's done so well these past 17 years. There's been regular check ups (even now periodically) and the odd bit of concern, but yes happily he's stayed cancer free all this time :-)
      It's amazing hoe a bit of apricot jam produces such a wonderful sheen to a tart. Thanks for your lovely comment,
      Angela x

  8. Oh your poor Dad. So pleased your he made it through, but it must of been a very difficult time for you all. It's so great that you are raising awareness and encouraging people to use the screening test pack - and what a fab way to do it. That tart looks amazing!! I am a huge fan of frangipane tarts...and it goes so well with pears. I really wish I could grab a slice from out of my screen!! :-D Eb x

    1. Thankyou Eb :-), I just can't stress enough how important those screening packs are.
      So am I, I just love frangipane. I happily order it before chocolate desserts and so on. it's such a classic, and a delicious one as well. Haha, I'll send you a slice next time i make one Eb ;-)
      Angela xx

  9. Such a gorgeous tart! I really love frangipane as well and it's great that you've been able to join in with Bowel Cancer Awareness month and share one of the bakes. So pleased your Dad made such a good recovery as it must have been such a difficult time for your family. And thank you for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice as well! x

    1. Aw thankyou Corina. As soon as I realised the Awareness month was April, I knew I had to mark in some way and thankfully Dad was happy with me sharing his story on the blog too.
      Thanks for your lovely comment Corina,
      Angela x

  10. I'm so happy that your dad recovered Angela - it must have been a tough time. And this bake looks perfect to celebrate that - I love pear and almond x

    1. Thankyou Mandy, so are we :-) I think for me the hardest part and the part which still sticks in my mind is seeing my Dad noticeably upset after learning from the surgeon that he would need chemo! It's the first and only time I've seen him upset.
      I'm with you on the pear and almond front Mandy, it's absolutely divine isn't it.
      Angela x


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