6- 8 pears, peeled and halved 450g shortcrust pastry (see below) 100g softened butter 100g icing sugar 100g ground almonds 25g corn flour 2 large eggs 50g flaked almonds Apricot jam - to glaze 2 tbsp water
For the Poaching Syrup 900ml Water 200g caster sugar 1 Lemon 1 Star Anise (Optional)
1. Prepare the pears by peeling and removing the seeds, slice each pear in half. In a large saucepan, add one and a half pints of water, 200g caster sugar and a lemon sliced into wedges. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the pears. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the pears have softened, remove the pears from the syrup and allow to cool. 2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. 3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Lightly grease a 9" tart tin, line the tin with the pastry and trim the edges. 4. In the meantime, to make the frangipane place the butter, sugar, almonds, corn flour and eggs into a bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth in consistency. Pour the mixture over the pastry, and place the halved pears on top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and golden brown on top. 5. To make the glaze mix 1 tablespoon of apricot jam with 2 tablespoons of water and heat over a moderate heat until the jam has dissolved. 6. Remove the tart from the oven and glaze immediately.
For the Shortcrust Pastry 350g plain flour pinch salt 175g butter 1 level tablespoon sugar 6 8 tablespoons ice cold water
1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the pinch of salt. Cut the butter into pieces and add this to the flour and salt. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar at this stage also. Next mix in the water, gradually, until the mixture all comes together into a ball. Kneed lightly to achieve a smooth pastry and then wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but for longer if time will allow.