YIELD: 2 (9-inch) tarts
For the pears:
6 pears, firm but ripe
18 oz. white wine
18 oz. water
12 oz. sugar
1 lemon peel
1 vanilla bean
For the filling:
6 oz. pistachios, blanched and peeled
6 oz. sugar
¾ oz. flour
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. butter, soft
2 oz. pistachios, chopped
2 unbaked tart shells
1. Peel pears, cut into halves and remove the core.
2. Combine wine, water, sugar and flavorings in a stainless pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Drop in the pear halves and poach over gentle heat until pears can be pierced easily with a toothpick. Remove the pears, drain of excess syrup and allow to cool.
3. While pears are poaching, combine nuts, sugar, flour and salt in bowl of food processor. Grind nuts to fine powder.
4. Add soft butter and process until mixture comes together.
5. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Do not over-mix or the frangipane will become too aerated.
6. Spread into 2 unbaked tart shells* and arrange 6 fanned, sliced pear halves in a pleasing pattern. Sprinkle chopped pistachio around the border. Bake at 350°F (325°F convection) about 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Frangipane should be soft and not take too much color. Cool thoroughly.
7. Finish tarts with powdered sugar or glaze with a neutral gel.
*Tart dough can be short dough or pie dough. The dough’s weight is 9 oz. for a 9” tart pan. Roll into circle, line the tart mold, trim excess and dock with a fork. Allow the to rest in refrigerator for a few hours. Fill the tart dough with frangipane, and pear as instructed above.
Recipe: Chef John DiFilippo, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone