Pastry Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups plain flour
150g butter, cubed and chilled
2 tbsp pure icing sugar
1 tbsp chilled water
Filling Ingredients :
200g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp almond essence
2 tbsp amaretto liquer (can be replaced using rum, or omit altogether)
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup plain flour
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
First, make the pastry.
Combine cubed butter, flour and icing sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Separate the egg and add the yolk and process. If the mixture is still dry, add the egg white and process. The pastry should just start to combine into a dough. If it is still too dry, add a tablespoon of chilled water. Be careful not to make the pastry too wet.
Once the pastry starts to come together, tip out of the food processor and knead lightly with your hands. Roll into a ball, cover with cling film, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Line the base of a 28cm fluted tart tin, and grease the sides with butter.
Roll out the pastry dough to approximately 3mm thick, and place into tart tin. Press base and sides into tin, then trim off the excess from the top. Prick the base with a fork, then place in refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C. Line the tart with baking paper and fill with baking weights. If you don’t have baking weights, I find rice works just as well.
Blind bake in oven for 12 minutes. Remove baking weights and paper, and bake for a further 8 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Now, make your frangipane.
Cream butter and sugar using a stand or hand-held electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well. Add the almond essence and liqueur.
Lightly beat in the almond meal, then the flour until just combined.
Finally, fill your tart shell with the frangipane mixture. Arrange the sliced pears around the outside of your tart, leaving the centre open. Sprinkle the top of the pears with a little caster sugar.
Drop oven temperature to 160C.
Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tart tin and serve with some good quality vanilla ice cream.