Tender pears, a soft nutty filling and crisp pastry - this pear frangipane tart with cranberries is delicious, easier than you might think and a perfectly elegant and flavorful dessert for any occasion.
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I've had the idea of making a pear frangipane tart for absolutely ages. In fact probably before the chocolate raspberry almond tart which this draws on. I'm not entirely sure where my obsession came from, but I think it was when I started to miss the delicious pear tarts that a store in the UK had.
A store near my old office used to sell these perfect single-serve sized tarts. I might possibly have sneakily got one alongside my lunch on days when I particularly needed it (and believe me, working in HR in Financial Services during the crash, I had a few).
I've since found a place here that sells something similar that are fantastic, but thankfully I have less days when I feel I need one. Or maybe I just make enough other things myself to be distracted. Anyway, it was only a matter of time until I made one myself.
What is frangipane?
Frangipane is kind of like marzipan (as I made and used in stollen, German Christmas cake). It's basically sweetened ground almonds, but while marzipan is often just that, maybe with egg in as well, frangipane is more liquid usually with butter in there, and used more like a pastry cream.
This tart is relatively similar to traditional French pear tarts, where the sweet pears are nestled in a frangipane filling, but I wanted to bring some cranberry goodness in there as well.
In fact, I did it in two ways - a bit of fresh as well as some dried. Sadly, the bright pink didn't carry through to the end tart, but you do get some flavor, especially in the chunks of dried cranberry.
The result is a wonderful combination of sweet, tender pear and nutty filling, surrounded by crisp pastry. And don't forget the little bursts of cranberry.
How to make this pear frangipane tart
This tart has three components:
- a pastry base,
- the frangipane mixture, and
- fresh pears.
The pastry is relatively rich with some egg in it and is based on the dough I use for empanadas and used in my maple delicata squash galette. It comes together quickly in a food processor and then you just roll, fill you dish and chill before blind baking.
While it might seem a little unusual, and I appreciate using half an egg can be a bit weird, you can just make a double quantity of pastry and use the rest for maybe some strawberry empanadas or pumpkin empanadas, or else use the other half egg for some sugar free date oatmeal cookies.
The frangipane is also easy to make, as you simply melt the butter with the fresh cranberries, then strain the mixture into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. To be honest, I don't know how much the fresh cranberries add to the end tart but it's easy enough, I still suggest adding.
Finally peel, core and slice the pear then put the frangipane filling in the pre-baked pastry topped with the pear. Don't worry that the pear oozes a bit of juice as it bakes, it will still be delicious.
This pear frangipane tart is elegant and packed with flavor. It's great for serving a group and will keep a couple days, given half the chance. Although it was so well loved by all here, it didn't last too long. With enough of a seasonal flair to be perfect over the holidays, but great anytime, it's one you need to give a try.
Looking for more fall-flavored desserts? Try these!
- Pear clafoutis
- Pumpkin souffle
- Chocolate pumpkin pastry twists
- French pear cake
- Plus get more dessert recipes in the archives.
Pear frangipane tart with cranberries
For the pastry
- ½ cup all purpose flour 70g plain flour
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour 70g
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 28g/1oz
- ½ egg
For the filling
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 30g
- ¼ cup cranberries 30g, fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup almond flour 75g, ground almonds
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries roughly chopped
- 1 pear
For the pastry base
- Put the flours and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice to mix. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse a few times until it is well mixed and comes together as a ball. Remove from the food processor, roll out and then line an 8in/20cm pie/tart dish. Trim the edges and chill for approx 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C Line the pastry case with parchment and then add baking beans to bake it blind for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and bake another 2-3 minutes until it looks dry.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before filling.
For the filling
- As the pastry is chilling, melt the butter with the fresh/frozen cranberries until the cranberries burst and become mushy.
- Mix together the almond flour, sugar and egg in a bowl. Strain the butter-cranberry mixture into the bowl to hold back the skins but get as much of the rest. Add the roughly chopped dried cranberries and mix so well combined and cranberries evenly distributed.
- Cut the pear in half, remove the core and peel then cut each half into relatively thin slices.
- Put the frangipane filling into the slightly cooled pastry case and spread into an even layer. Gently press the pears into the frangipane, gently pressing the slices slightly to one side as you put them in so they fan out (see photos).
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes until just starting to brown on top. Serve warm or cold.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other cranberry creations as we kick off Cranberry week today:
- Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cranberry Apple Pecan Bread from Cookaholic Wife
- Cranberry Apple Pie from House of Nash Eats
- Cranberry Butter from Family Around The Table
- Cranberry Coffee Cake from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cranberry Loaf from Making Miracles
- Cranberry Moscow Mules from Books n' Cooks
- Cranberry Mousse Chocolate Dessert Bowls by The Freshman Cook
- Cranberry Swirl Bread from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Double Chocolate Cranberry Almond Bark from Frugal Pantry
- Frosted Cranberries from Bear & Bug Eats
- Roasted Cranberry Chicken Salad from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures