Someone recently called me the 'Queen of Tarts' and I must admit; I've been making more tarts than one might believe lately. Once you've mastered a tart shell (and trust me, I only recently did - we can talk about this more soon); I think they're one of the simplest things you can make for dessert when entertaining. A quick frangipane topped with seasonal fruit has long been a favourite of mine - it's all done before your guests arrive, and that can only be a good thing. Apricots and almonds are a classic, but very seasonal. Pears are available year-round and they work wonderfully well with hazelnuts.
You'll only need three to four pears for this, but I figure that if you're roasting a few you may as well roast a few more. The leftover pears will keep for up to three days in the fridge; I love them as much in the morning with granola and yogurt, as I do after dinner with a little custard or ice cream.
Maple Roasted Pear and Hazelnut Tart
One quantity shortcrust or pate sucre
Maple Roasted Pears
8 small pears, peeled and halved
vanilla pod, split with seeds scraped
125ml dessert wine
80ml maple syrup
2 long pieces lemon or orange rind
90g golden (unrefined) caster sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
100g hazelnut meal
pinch of sea salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs milk
Grease and line a 22cm loose bottomed tart tin with pastry and allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, but better two.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C. Place pears, vanilla, wine, maple syrup and rind in a baking dish large enough to fit the pears in one layer. Toss to combine, cover with foil, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Set aside to cool in the syrup.
Preheat oven to 180C. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with baking weights. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
While the pastry is cooking; pulse together sugar, butter and hazelnut meal in a food processor, or using an electric beater. Add the egg and milk and blend till smooth.
Reduce oven to 170C. Spread the frangipane over the cooked tart shell and top with pears. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the frangipane is glorious a deep gold.
Allow to cool in the tin before removing. Serve with crème fraiche.
- I personally don't think the variety of pear matters terribly much here, so whatever is at the market will do. The important thing is that they should be ripe, but still firm so they hold their shape.