Pear and Almond Tart (Tarte Bourdaloue)

This is a classic French recipe, usually made with canned pear halves in syrup. Since I found some beautiful poires Williams at the market yesterday, I decided to poach them in a simple homemade syrup instead.

2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil or butter, softened
1/3 cup  warm water

5 firm pears
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon

 2 eggs
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar (I used half white sugar and half dark brown sugar)
1 tablespoon of rhum


Make the crust. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together and knead just long enough to combine them well. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Poach the pears in syrup (skip this step if you are using canned pear halves in syrup).
In a saucepan, mix together sugar, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat just so the syrup keeps simmering and reducing. In the meantime, peel the pears, half them, remove seeds and stems. Place in syrup and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.

 Make the filling. In a bowl, mix together oil (or butter) and sugar with a hand whisk or electric beaters (1 min). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add almond meal and rhum to the mixture and whisk until well incorporated.
Preheat oven at 350°F (approx. 180°C). Remove dough from the fridge and roll onto a floured surface until crust is about 3 millimeters (1/8 inch) thick. Transfer crust into a 9-inch round tart form pan. With a fork, make a few indentations through the bottom of the crust.
Pour filling onto the crust. Place a half pear flat on a cutting board and make a few parallel cuts through 2/3 of the its length, in order to shape it like a fan. Repeat with each remaining half pear and place them all in a circular fashion in the filling.
Bake for approx. 35 minutes, or until top of tart and edge of the crust turn golden brown.
Let cool completely in pan before serving.


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