Poached Pear and Almond Tart
This is a rustic and delicious Parisian dessert (La Tarte Bourdaloue) by Audrey Le Goff from her new book called Rustic French Cooking Made Easy. It’s full of authentic, regional flavours and dishes from Provence, Brittany, Alsace and beyond. Audrey was born and raised in France and settled in Canada 10 years ago. Her many years all over France contribute to her passion for food and a strong desire to showcase regional French Cuisine not like we know it. It goes beyond croissants and fine dining. Through this lovely book Audrey shares the rich history and varied ingredients of French cuisine. She shares approachable dishes that highlight how simple, humble and incredibly diverse French cuisine is.
Each recipe comes with a brief and interesting history which I love. I love to know where each dish hails from and it’s influence and Audrey shares that with us along with absolutely beautiful photographs of each recipe. I’m a huge fan of Audrey. She is a self taught home cook and photographer and everything she does is at a professional level. I love her work and was thrilled when she announced she was working on a cookbook. I knew exactly what to expect. Her work is exceptional - recipes, writing and photography and I knew this would carry over into her book as well. I was not surprised at all by how much I love her book. I want to try every recipe in it. It’s my style of food - rustic and approachable.
The book is arranged starting with Small Bites, then Starters and Casual Fare, Family Meals to Homey Desserts and Afternoon Treats. Each section has a brief description introducing some history and a true picture of what is on the menu for that chapter and where in France certain dishes are commonly enjoyed. All her descriptions had me wanting to be back in France exploring each region. I already mentioned a bit about Audreys fabulous food photography. Interspersed are beautiful images of France that she has taken that really add to the overall feeling of the book. It’s so well done and I’m so happy to have a copy thanks to Audrey.
She was kind enough to share a copy and she also sent me that stunning and large tea towel in the photograph. She has generously allowed me to share this recipe with you guys and I know you will love it. She mentions in her description for the Dessert section that unlike the more renowned classic French desserts that require advance techniques and tools these desserts are often, one bowl, a spatula or a whisk and a little elbow grease. That is what you need for this tart - a little elbow grease. Totally worth the effort to make this one. The crisp pâté sablée is filled with a rich almond cream filling made from frangipane and crème pâtissière and then with tender and spiced poached pears. It’s one of those desserts that you can make a few of the steps for it ahead of time making it quicker to put together. I poached my pears and stored them in the liquid the day before assembly and I also made the Patê Sablée the day before as well making it quicker to put together the next day. I knew I had to make this as soon as I saw it and I’m so glad I did. I love pear desserts and this one bakes to perfection. I hope you enjoy the recipe and for more of these fine recipes make sure to pick up Audrey’s book!
Disclaimer: We received this book as a gift but all thoughts and opinions are our own. The recipe for Audrey’s La Tarte Bourdaloue (pg. 119) from her new cookbook “Rustic French Cooking Made Easy”. This recipe is shared with permission from the publisher.
For the poached pears
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 3 star anise
- 4 medium, round pears
For the pâte sablée
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- ¼ ground almonds
- 1¾ all-purpose flour
- ½ salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
For the crème pâtissière
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3¼ tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp milk (whole or 2%)
- 3½ tbsp heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- To make the poached pears, bring 4 cups of water to a boil with the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. Peel the pears, remove the stems, cut them in half and core them. Poach the pears for 15 minutes in the simmering syrup. Drain and set aside to cool.
- To Make the pâte sablée, combine the powdered sugar, ground almonds, all-purpose flour and salt. Add in the butter and egg, and mix with your hands to form a smooth ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- To make the crème pâtissère, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract to a simmer. Slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture. Whisk continuously for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid thickens to a glistening cream. Remove from the heat, and let cool.
For the frangipane
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1⅔ ground almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp dark rum
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar, for garnish
- A handful of sliced almonds, for garnish
- To make the frangipane, combine the butter, powdered sugar, ground almonds and eggs. Add in the dark rum and almond extract. Mix the frangipane with the cooled crème pâtissière.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
- Take the pâte sablée out of the fridge, place it between two large sheets of parchment papered roll it out to a 12-inch circle. Unpeel the top sheet of parchment paper transfer the crust to a 9-inch pie dish and poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Top with the poached and halved pears, with the outside of the pear facing up.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is golden. Transfer onto a rack, and cool for at least 2 hours before enjoying
- For serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds
Choose perfectly ripe pears for poaching: they won’t poach well if underripe, and they will turn mushy if overripe. Bosc pears hold a great shape and sweetness after being poached and baked, but the Anjou and Bartlett varieties work well too.