Pear and Frangipane Tarts

When I saw tinned pears at knock down prices the other day, I remembered a recipe using them from Alastair Little’s seminal Keep It Simple. Why not, he says, when needing poached pears, use tinned ones. And I did, copying his idea of teaming them with frangipane paste to make stunning little puff pastry tarts. Don’t worry if some of the eggy almond paste slips off the tarts as they cook, it will eventually set and firm, just cut round it when you remove the tarts from the oven. Dusted with icing sugar they look a dream and taste it too.

Serves 6

Prep: 20 min plus 30 min chill

Cook: 25 min

200g puff pastry

flour for dusting

50g butter plus extra knob

50g caster sugar

50g ground almonds

1 egg

400g tin pears halves in fruit juice

icing sugar 

     Dust a work surface with flour, roll out the pastry and cut out 6 x 10-12cm circles, re-rolling trimmings. Etch a ½ (half) cm border and fork all over the pastry within the border. Use the knob of butter to smear a baking sheet then cover with baking parchment (the butter stops it sliding) and butter liberally. Lay out the pastry circles. Cream the butter, sugar and almonds smooth then add the egg to make a thick cream; quickly done in a food processor. Divide between the pastry circles, spreading up to the border. Drain the pears, quarter 4 halves lengthways and arrange over the frangipane. Chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 190C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the frangipane has puffed and set golden around the pears. Trim overspill, dust with icing sugar and eat immediately or transfer to a cake tray to cool.