Pear Almond Tart

When I was in college, my math professor taught me how to make this wonderful pear tart. It was very easy and elegant, my favorite combination. I can’t find the recipe anywhere. This is what I came up with, though I think his was even simpler.

Pear Almond Tart

Serves 8

1 Tbs unsalted butter
3 firm ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1½ Tbs fresh lemon juice
6 oz almond paste
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 egg
1 9-inch sheet puff pastry

Line a baking pan with parchment. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the pears and lemon juice. Sprinkle the pears with 1½ tablespoons sugar, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and cook until tender and syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes; let cool completely.

Meanwhile, Place the almond paste, remaining 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar, egg in a food processor. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.

Dust the prepared pan with flour. Place the puff pastry on the pan and roll out into an 11-inch square, then cut into a 10-inch round. Top with the almond paste mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange all but 1 pear quarter in a circle on the pastry, narrow ends toward the center. Cut the remaining piece in half and arrange in the center of the pastry. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Bake the tart until the edge is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375˚ and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Note:   Parchment paper keeps the pastry from sticking to the baking sheet and also makes for easier cleanup. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can spray the baking sheet with cooking spray instead. However, cooking spray may cause the bottoms of the pastries to brown more quickly, so begin checking for doneness 5 minutes early.

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