Monday, December 3, 2012

Pear-Cranberry Frangipane Tart

Take a 1/4 cup dried cranberries and soak them in some brandy (or, if you spent the summer making cordials, dig out the winter spice cordial you made with brandy, fresh ferries, vanilla, and a cinnamon stick, and soak them in that -- dang, it's tasty!). Just enough to cover them. Make the frangipane: (thank you to Foodie in Berlin's blog) 115g almond paste or marzipan, crumbled 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon almond extract 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 large egg, at room temperature 1 teaspoon rum, Kirsch or Calvados (optional) Place the almond paste, sugar, flour and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer. Mix until the almond paste is in fine, uniform pieces. Add the butter and mix until very well-blended, then add the egg and the liqueur, if using. Mix until the frangipane is smooth (there may be a few tiny unmixed pieces of almond paste, and that’s fine–they’ll disappear during baking). Use the liquid you soaked the cranberries in for the Kirsch!!! So. Good. You can make the frangipane up to 2 days before and refrigerate it. Remember, unless you're buying unpasturized eggs right from the farmer, keeping it refrigerated will be just fine. I was making a half-recipe, so I just used an egg white. Prepare your crust of choice. Puff pastry, shortbread crust in a tart pan, or free-form "rustic" made from pie crust dough all work well in this recipe. You will not need to blind-bake the puff pastry or pie crust. Assemble it in the pan. Spread the frangipane over your crust evenly. Quarter your pears (about 2), and slice them thinly so you can fan them out. (if you are going rustic, don't be fancy.) Lay them on top of your frangipane. Arrange the soaked cranberries on top. Scatter a few tablespoons of sugar over the whole thing. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes to an hour. Use the same logic as pie here, folks. You want the fruit to be cooked through, and you want the pastry to be crisp, not soggy. Juices may run over. Embrace this, but place a baking sheet under the pan in the oven. :)