A classic tart filled with light almond cream and softly poached pears. This Pear Frangipane Tart is the perfect Fall dessert celebrating seasonal pears and would grace any Holiday dessert table.
With pear season in full swing, it's the perfect timing to make this incredible Frangipane Pear Tart, also known as Tart Bourdaloue. Using my foolproof Sweet Short Crust Recipe (Pâte Sucrée), the tart shell is flaky and crisp and creates the perfect housing for the filling.
The frangipane filling is fragrant, nutty and sweet. I use the same filling in my Plum Frangipane Tart as it accompanies fruit perfectly. Today we use delicately spiced poached pears to create this Bourdaloue tart. It's perfect for Fall baking.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Frangipane Tart Recipe
- Delicate Flavours. The taste of the soft almond filling teams superbly with the natural, delicate pears. The light vanilla and ginger provide a gorgeous balance to the delicacy of the fruit and nuts.
- It may take time but is simple to make. No need to be intimidated by the three components of this recipe. I'll take you step by step with instructions, images and tips so you can make this too.
- Classically French. The French are renowned for their mouth-watering tarts. Always beautifully presented, this tart is no exception. You'll most definitely impress your guests!
- Great Make-Ahead Dessert. The Pear and Almond Tart can be made the day before and served at room temperature or warmed in the oven, making this ideal for entertaining.
❓What is a Bourdaloue Tart?
Pronounced 'bour-da-loo', the origin of Tart Bourdaloue stems from a street in the 9th arrondissement in Paris. This Parisienne street, Rue Bourdaloue, housed a pâtisserie in which the chef created this famous French tart.
Made with a sweet shortcrust pastry, the tart shell is filled with a sweet almond cream and baked with sliced, poached pears and flaked almonds.
❓ What is Frangipane?
Originating from Italy, it's an almond cream made from butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds and flour. It's beaten together to create a smooth, creamy filling. It's thick but spreadable and has a nutty, sweet taste from the ground almonds.
Frangipane is predominantly used as a filling in tarts, pastries and desserts. Flavourings such as vanilla extract, almond extract, chocolate, citrus zest and alcohol, such as rum, can be added to boost flavour.
The ground almonds can also be substituted with other nuts such as ground pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts. It's super versatile. It's a wonderful filling that bakes to a beautiful golden colour with the most intoxicating nutty aroma. Bliss!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry and Frangipane Filling
Whilst Sweet Short Crust Pastry is traditionally used, you can use an all-butter pastry, such as that used in my Caramel Pie. Alternatively, if short on time, then use store-bought dough or a pre-made tart shell.
- Butter - I use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt used in the pastry. Ensure the butter is cold and cut into small cubes.
- Icing Sugar - Powdered icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) blends into the pastry quickly and easily. It provides the perfect level of sweetness to the dough.
- Egg - Just one egg is used to bind the pastry together. Use i whole egg, and make sure it is cold.
The almond frangipane filling uses a basic butter, sugar, egg and ground almond base.
- Butter - As in the pastry, unsalted is best. However, the butter must be at room temperature to be creamed with sugar.
- Ground Almonds - Also referred to as almond meal, it's slightly courser in texture than almond flour and provides a lovely texture to the frangipane. At a pinch, use almond flour, but being finer grains, the overall texture will change.
- Almond extract - I love the little extra kick given with the almond extract but don't go overboard as it can be quite overwhelming. Swap out for vanilla extract.
- Apricot Jam - as is customary with traditional French tarts, warmed apricot jam is brushed on after baking. It provides sweetness and a beautiful shiny glaze to the tart. Or you can use honey. You can simply dust the tart in icing sugar also.
- Lemon zest and juice provide subtle flavour and help stop the pears from browning.
- Ginger, cinnamon and star anise - just a small knob of ginger, peeled and sliced, helps provide a subtle warmth to the pears. The cinnamon and star anise provide fall spice and an extra layer of flavour
What Are The Best Pears To Use?
Ones that don't soften too much when baked are best. We want them to hold their shape from poaching and all baking in the oven. My preferred varieties are Anjou Pears, Bosc Pears and Conference Pears.
Pick pears that are ripe but still firm. Underripe pears lack in flavour, whereas over ripe pears poach in less time but will become too soft too quickly.
I have seen in many recipes that canned or jarred pears can be used too. They require no poaching and can be drained and sliced, then baked into the French Pear Tart immediately. It's a time-saving hack if you prefer.
- Chocolate Pear Tart: Add melted chocolate into the frangipane filling and make the tart a stunning treat. This would be perfect for your Christmas table.
- Raspberry and Pear Tart: A fresh summery take on this Pear Frangipane Tart. Add a cupful of raspberries to the cream filling, and they'll burst into the filling whilst baking.
- Wine Poached Pear Tart: The subtle flavours of a dry white or the punchy fruitiness of a bold red wine pair well with the delicate pears. The red wine stains the outside of the pears, leaving a beautiful red hue.
- Hazelnut Pear Tart: The flexibility with frangipane is that you can use any nut you like. Swap out the almonds for ground hazelnuts and sprinkle with chopped toasted hazelnuts. The flavour combination is unreal!
- Mini Pear and Almond Tarts. Make this into mini tarts. This recipe will make six 12cm (5inch) round individual tarts.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make a Pear Frangipane Tart
The Pear Frangipane Tart is constructed into three components, the shortcrust pastry, the almond frangipane filling and the poached pears.
The first step is to poach the pears, as it's actually better to let them cool whilst still in the poaching liquid. It helps the flavour soak into the pears even more, and you know I'm all about maximising flavour!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
How do You Poach Pears
STEP 1. Bring poaching liquid to a boil. Add the water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, vanilla, cinnamon and star anis to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer (Image 2).
STEP 2. Prepare pears and poach. Whilst the liquid is heating. Peel, half then core the pears (Image 1).
Add them to the poaching liquid and simmer for 20-30 minutes until a knife inserted should pierce the pear easily. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. Pears can cool completely in the poaching liquid.
TIP: Turn the pears over after 10 minutes so that the tops don't brown (Image 3).
Make the Sweet Short Crust Pastry
STEP 3. Rub the butter into the flour. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, add the butter and toss through the flour. Rub the butter between your fingertips until it's the size of large bread crumbs. (Image 4)
STEP 4. Add the egg and mix. Add in the lightly beaten egg and use a fork to mix it through the flour mix (Image 5).
Then add half the water and, using your fingers, toss it through. The dough will start to clump together (Image 6). Add more water sparingly, a teaspoon at a time, until a shaggy dough forms. You may not need all the water.
Bring the dough together with your hands, gently squeezing it into a ball and then shaping it into a disc (Image 7). Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
TIP: If your environment is warm, pop the whole bowl with flour in it into the fridge ten minutes before starting to make the dough. Run your hands under cold water too.
STEP 5. Roll dough out and line the tart tin. Roll the dough out to a rough 12inch circle (Image 8).
Fold dough over the rolling pin and gently lift and place it over a fluted tart tin with a removable base. Gently press the dough into the sides without stretching it (Image 9).
Trim excess dough by running the rolling pin over the tart tin and removing excess (Images 10 & 11). Refrigerate the base for 30 minutes.
TIP: The tart base requires blind baking, essentially baking the pastry without the filling with pie weight to prevent it from puffing up. It's an extra step that's totally worth it.
If the filling were added to the tart shell and baked all at once, the pastry would not cook properly and end up raw. Par baking the base results in a crisp, flakey crust- exactly what we want.
STEP 6. Par bake base. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Remove the base from the fridge and dock the base with the tines of a fork (Image 12). Line the base with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (Image 13). These can be ceramic baking beans, rice, lentils, sugar or a combination.
Bake the Pear Frangipane Tart for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and pie weights. Dip the pastry brush into the beaten egg to be used for the frangipane (no need to use a separate egg), and brush the base of the tart with it (Image 14).
Return the tart base to the oven for another 7-10 minutes until lightly golden (Image 15). The base is now par-baked.
Make the Frangipane Filling
STEP 7. Make the filling. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy with a handheld electric beater (Image 16). Add the beaten eggs, ground almonds, flour, almond extract and salt and mix until combined (Image 17).
Assemble the Tart
STEP 8. Slices pears and add to the filled tart shell. Remove pears from the poaching liquid and drain them on a paper towel (Image 18). Cut them crosswise but leave the pears intact (Image 19).
Spoon the frangipane almond filling into the base of the tart shell. Level off with an offset spatula (Image 20). Gently lift the pear slices intact, and place them on the filling with the stem end facing inward and fanning around (Image 21). Sprinkle almonds around the pears over the frangipane.
STEP 9. Bake. The poached pear tart bakes for 40 minutes until the frangipane is golden brown (Image 22). If the pastry or almond flakes start to brown too quickly, then tent the tart in aluminium foil. Once baked, remove from the oven.
How to Serve
As is a tradition in France, once baked, the tart can be brushed over with warmed apricot jam. This adds a little sweetness to the tart but also a glorious sheen.
If you want to include it, then add a tablespoon of boiling water to the apricot jam and mix it together. Brush over the pears (Image 23). (An option is to brush the baked frangipane too, but I prefer not to. But you do you!
The Pear Frangipane Tart is now ready to serve! The tart is best served warm or at room temperature with a dollop of creme fraîche or whipped cream. Just like my Pecan Tart, I recommend serving this Pear Tart on your next Holiday get-together or at Thanksgiving.
💭 Expert Pro Tips
- Cold ingredients. Cold butter and ice-cold water are imperative when making short crust pastry.
- Don't overwork the dough. Add just enough water for the dough to clump together and don't need it too much - this only activates the gluten and will cause a tough pastry.
- Refrigerate the dough when required. Follow the recommended refrigeration times. This allows the butter in the dough to be regarded but also the flour to hydrate and the dough to rest. This helps with tender, flaky pastry.
- Keep an eye on the poaching time for the pears. They should poach until a knife can cut into the flesh easily. But the pears should not be so soft that they turn to mush!
📋 Recipe FAQs
A Bakewell tart is a traditional British tart with a jam layer in the bottom of the pastry tart and then topped with the frangipane filling. After baking, it's covered in a cherry fondant.
You'll know when the frangipane is cooked through as it will turn golden on the top and will rise up. If you want to see, more frangipane filling around the pears, then push them into the filling before baking.
It's a custard-type filling originating from Italy. It's a thick, sweet almond-flavoured custard used to fill a variety of pastries and tarts rather than be baked on its own.
❄️ Can I Make the Pear Tart Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. Here's how you can break down the three components of this Pear Frangipane Tart to make it more time efficient and spread the hands-on time over a couple of days.
- Poached Pears: Poach the pears in their liquid the day before baking the tart. They can cool down to room temperature in the poaching liquid, then remove and drain. Pat dry on a paper towel and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- The Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: It can be made and refrigerated once shaped into a disk or rolled into the tart shell several days before baking. Just wrap the dough disc or the unbaked tart shell well in plastic wrap, so it doesn't dry out.
- The Frangipane Filling: Can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight before filling the tart.
The tart can be stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic wrap for up to 3 days and in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The tart can be frozen. Cool down completely after baking. Wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze in a zip lock freezer-safe bag for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and warm for ten minutes or so in a 180C (350F) oven.
🥧 More Tart and Pie Recipes
If you tried this Pear Frangipane Tart recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a 🌟 star rating too!
Pear Frangipane Tart Recipe
- 25 cm (10-in) fluted tart tin with removeable base
- 600 ml boiling water
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, rind and juice
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and beans scraped out, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 star anis
- 3 pears
Sweet Shortcrust Tart
- 220 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 40 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 110 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 15-30 ml water, ice cold
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g ground almonds
- 65 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 tablespoon almond flakes, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoon apricot jam (optional)
Poach the pears
- Bring poaching liquid to a boil. Add the water, sugar, lemon rind and juice, vanilla bean and caviar, cinnamon sticks, ginger and star anis to a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Prepare pears and poach. Whilst the liquid is heating. Peel, half then core the pears. Add them to the poaching liquid immediately to prevent them turning brown. Simmer for 15-25 minutes until a knife inserted should pierce the pear easily. flip them over periodically to cook evenly. Remove pan from the heat and set it aside. Pears can cool completely in the poaching liquid.
Make the Sweet Short Crust Pastry
- Rub the butter into the flour. Sift the dry ingredients, flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add in the cubed butter and rub the butter and flour together between your fingers until it resembles a bread crumb consistency with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still visible.
- Add egg and water. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in your egg. Using a fork, mix the egg into the flour. Add 1 tablespoon (15ml) ice-cold water and use your hands to bring the dough together. Add more water sparingly if needed.
- Bring dough together and refrigerate. Bring the dough together with floured hands and shape into a flattened disc being careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap well in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Roll out dough. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a clean, lightly floured surface. Allow pastry to sit for about 10 minutes or so to soften ever so slightly. Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a coin (⅛” thick) and into a 12in (30cm) circle.
- Prepare dough in tart tin. Flour the base of a 10in (25cm) fluted tart tin. Fold the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared tin. Use your fingers to push the pastry onto the sides of the tin and into the grooves. Roll the rolling pin over the edges to trim off the excess dough. Refrigerate the prepared pastry shell for at least 1 hour to allow the pastry to relax further and butter to harden. (My preference is to leave the shell overnight in the fridge and continue with the recipe the next day. If you do this then cover well in plastic wrap to ensure that the pastry doesn’t dry out.)
- Blind bake. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Once the pastry is chilled, prick the pastry base all over with a fork and then line with greaseproof paper and fill with pie weights or rice (or both) all the way up the sides. Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and pie weights. Brush the base of the pastry with some of the whisked eggs to be used in the frangipane filling. Return the pastry back to the oven and bake for a further 7-10 minutes or until the base is dry and a light golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave the tart base to cool fully.
Make the Frangipane and Assemble the Tart
- Make frangipane filling whilst the tart base is cooling. In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugar using an electric hand-held mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the whisked eggs and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the almond meal, flour, salt, and almond extract and mix until combined. Pour the frangipane filling into the tart shell and spread out evenly.
- Slice pear and place on tart. Drain the pears on kitchen towel. Slice them crossways but leave them intact. Lift one pear at a time with an offset spatula and place on the filling with the stem end facing to the centre. Fan all the pears around the tart. Place the tart back in the oven and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 40-45 minutes, until the frangipane filling has set and is golden brown.
- To serve. Once baked, mix 1 tablespoon of boiling water into the apricot jam and brush mixture over the pears. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraîche.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.