First make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over 2–3 tbsp of cold water, then using a round-bladed knife, stir to bind the mixture together. (This can be done in a food processor.) Knead lightly to form a dough, then wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper or cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas 6) and put a baking sheet in to heat. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 24cm loose-based, fluted tart tin. Prick the base all over with a fork, then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Cover the pastry with a circle of greaseproof paper and weigh down with a layer of dried or baking beans. Place the tart case on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift off the beans and paper, then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the flour and ground almonds. Cut the pear halves into parallel slices, but do not separate, so as to keep the pear shape.
Spread the almond mixture over the base of the tart. Using a spatula, place each pear half in the tart tin, without dislodging the slices, with the pointed ends towards the centre.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes until golden and firm. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
*Before cooking, sprinkle the tart with a few crushed macaroons, mixed with 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar. *To make individual tarts, use the pastry to line four 12cm loose-based tartlet tins. Bake blind for 5 minutes, remove the beans and paper, then bake for a further 5 minutes. Fill with the almond mixture and place one sliced and fanned pear half in each tartlet. Bake for 20 minutes.
I don't understand the previous review, I have made this several times and not had a problem,with the quantities, it's a beautiful pud. Be warned though, it is filling so a small portion will do. - 17 Mar 2011
This didn't work at all. The almond paste barely covered the bottom of the pastry case, and hardly rose. I ended up with a sad looking pastry case covered with pears.
I might try it again using double the ingredients for the almond paste.
I had to abandon it for my dinner party dessert. - 13 Dec 2010