pear-and-almond-tart Recipes

pear and almond tart

A lot more than anyone should, I fixate on Paris. It’s not just that we got engaged there, returned a little over a year later just because we missed it and scheme to find a way to expat ourselves there one day or at least for a couple years; no, that would be too obvious. My obsession lies with the fact that, as with all things we pine for, the grass just seems so much greener over there, from the Velib bikes to the old buildings which are never crushed to make room for fugly glass and concrete monoliths, and do I even need to get started about the respect given to artisan crafts from pastry to bread baking?

three boscs

Thus, it was with great interest that I came across an article written by Dorie Greenspan for Bon Appetit a couple years ago about yet another thing that makes French women so fabulous–aside from the fact that they’re always perfectly dressed without looking like they’re trying too hard and can tie a scarf with their eyes closed while I do mine in front of a mirror and it still looks awkward. It’s because they say things like “Why’d do you do it?”—”it” being baking a rich chocolate cake topped with raspberries and chocolate ganache—”I mean, it’s great, but cakes like this are the reason pastry shops were invented.”

sweet tart shellpears, poaching

As someone who delights in making elaborate cakes, but also advises people to only choose one plat de resistance when entertaining, this captivated me. French women, says Dorie, keep it simple when they bake at home, and they’re not afraid to use bits and pieces purchased elsewhere–a tart dough, some prepared fruit, almond paste–to get the job done.

frangipane misefrangipane

For example, it is not uncommon for French women to use canned pears in this Pear and Almond Tart, or a ready to be rolled sweet pastry dough. And boy, I could have used one of those doughs this Sunday, when the ground-almond version I used gave me so much trouble–dry, crumbly, loathsome–that after four failed attempts to roll it out, I threw it in the garbage and made a new one. However, in my trial but mostly error, I decided that this new one, the one I have posted here today, will be the only one I ever used because, get this, it barely shrunk at all. This is a first in the smitten kitchen, but I hope not the last.

poached pears, halvedassembling the tart

Ironically enough, this is quite close to a recipe that shrunk mercilessly on me a few months ago, leading me to believe that it is the technique, not recipe that saved the day. And what is this technique, pray tell? It is fully freezing the dough and lining it tightly with foil before baking the shell.

pear almond tart

I didn’t trust the quality of readily-available canned pears in the store–Chelsea, you are no Paris, though I know you try–but fortunately, poaching the pears was little trouble. Once I had the shell baked, the pears poached and the filling whirled in the food processor, I ran out of time to bake the tart (typical) and packed all three parts up to go to my parents for dinner. Sure, my mother already had a dessert planned but you see, I had to make this tart for my mom. You see, she is a marzipan fanatic and if you have a marzipan fanatic in your life, you need to introduce them to frangipane, stat. Made with ground almonds, butter, an egg and a splash of extract or brandy, they’ll think they’ve died and gone to heaven.

Which, really, is a perfect time to ask them to sponsor your next trip to Paris.

pear almond tart

One year ago: Vegetable Dumplings, Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce

Best Sweet Tart Crust
Adapted from a few Dorie Greenspan recipes

Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 to 2 grams) table salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons, 4 1/2 ounces or 130 grams) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulse about 10 seconds each until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change; heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about 2 hours before rolling.*

2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

4. To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.

Storing: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out–just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

* Alternate press-in technique: If you want to use the press-in method, you can work with the dough as soon as it’s processed. Just press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed; press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don’t press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.

Pear and Almond Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2005

If you’d like to use canned pears halves for this–it is trés French, you see–just drain the canned pears, dry them very well, and carry on.

4 cups (950 ml) water
1 1/4 cups (225 grams) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
3 medium-size firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled (each about 7 ounces or 200 grams)

Almond Filling
2/3 cup (75 grams) blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour
7 tablespoons (90 grams) sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) brandy (optional)

1 sweet tart shell, baked (recipe above)

Powdered sugar (optional)

For pears: Bring 4 cups water, sugar, and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pears. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are very tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in syrup. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For almond filling: Finely grind almonds and flour in processor. Mix in 7 tablespoons sugar, then butter and flavorings (if using). Blend until smooth. Mix in egg. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread almond filling evenly in baked tart crust. Stem pears and cut each in half lengthwise; scoop out cores. Cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each pear half to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under pears and arrange atop filling like spokes of wheel with narrow ends in center.

Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

See also: A summer version — Plum-Almond Tart

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150 comments on pear and almond tart

  1. He lives in the street but he’s no bum
    A rockabilly star from the days of old
    He used to have teeth all filled with gold
    A platinum voice but only gold records
    On the bass was boots on the drums was checkers
    Luis Vuitton with the Gucci guitar
    Johnny Ryall
    Who do you think you are
    Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall

  2. This looks delectable! I’m absolutely mad for pears – and a pear and almond tart? It’s one of my favorites!

    As always, I so enjoyed this post. Your writing has such a personable, entrancing quality that I find myself drawn to read it, day after day. Funny you should mention those mysterious shrinking tart shells… just recently I wrote about how to avoid this issue entirely and I fully agree, it’s all about technique.

  3. Oh lovely! I have a terrible time with pastry crusts but I think I’ll have to give the almond filling a shot. I’m not a marizipan fanatic (it’s a little chalky to me) but I do absolutely love almond-y things.

    And I get your drift about Europe. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that we could use my job as an excuse to move there for a few years, but, , no go. What with families and house in America – I’ve got to settle my mind to the idea that it’s just not going to happen…

  4. Wow that looks awesome! I don’t usually have problems with pastry crust, but i think that I will definitely give this a try for some variation. I love almond stuff so this should be a great recipe to try!

  5. Lindsay

    This looks great! Did you end up adding brandy to your filling? You mentioned it earlier, but the recipe doesn’t include any. Just wondering!

  6. deb

    Whoops–will add now. I used a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and it made the filling taste exactly like marzipan… drool. (Yes, I have the marzipan bug, too.)

  7. I love pears, and the photos look great. I have a thing about almond unless it’s just straight almond nuts… I never liked maraschino cherries, and a lot of almond stuff tastes like that :( But everything looks incredible!

  8. melissa

    i love the sweet tart crust you recommend in the “two of tarts” entry. Could that crust be subsituted in this recipe (as i have made a few crusts and have them in the freezer right now)? Truth be told, the lemon tart is not my favorite (just personal taste) but my husband and my mother are absolutely wild over it. They request it for birthdays, holidays, potlucks, and any celebration you can think of. I like it alright, but am a little tired of making it. I’d like to try this, but I already have the other crusts in my freezer. (I make a few batches in a row when i have an hour or two to keep everyone happy).

  9. Jana

    hmmm sounds perfect. I always thought that pears are every little bit as good as apples when it comes to bakery, or even better. Changing the subject, do you think there’s any chance that the famous peanut butter cookies could work with dulce de leche? I’m brazilian, and its impossible to find peanut butter here. Dulce de Leche, in the other hand, it’s everywhere and i love it…

  10. melissa

    Are peanuts available there? (Sorry if i sound ignorant). I have made my own peanut butter by grinding them up in a food processor.

  11. Dancer who eats

    One of my Mom’s friends makes pear squares with canned pears and it is soo easy. Can’t wait to try this variation and probably improve on something wonderful. The presentation is perfect and I can serve this at a dinner party!

  12. Not that this really simplifies things, but next year when pears are in season, you might consider canning some of your own so you can make these tarts to your hearts content all winter long. Canning pears is very easy (certainly no more difficult than poaching them) and they are so much better than store bought. But really, I can’t think of a single thing that would improve this tart…superbly parisian and pretty! :-)

  13. I think your pictures are the most phenomenal I’ve ever seen. As your site loaded and this pear tart popped up, I literally sat there and sighed. That’s a sign of a goof picture – keep up the great work!

  14. Delurking to say that I love, love,love, your site. I have made quite a few of the recipes you have posted (latkes 3 ways for 50 anyone?) and they have all turned out great. This tart is definately well worth the effort. Who’d have thought that freezing the shell would work wonders? Maybe THAT’S why the frozen pie shells from the grocery store always turn out perfect!?

    Also loved that you prepped the three components and baked them off later. I have never really thought to do that when baking! You’re a genius!

  15. Jana

    Melissa, sure, we do have peanuts here. In fact, they’re pretty popular and several brazilian candies use them as a base, such as “paçoca” or “Amendoinzinhos”. But i really don’t know a good peanut butter recipe… Can you share it?

  16. your tart is absolutely gorgeous! and its nice to know that french women take shortcuts… even if pears are easy to prepare. but i agree, tart crusts sometimes aren’t

  17. I just started reading and I’m already hooked. This tart looks divine, and a good entry point for developing my pastry crust experience. I’m also breaking into the homemade bread world… yum. Keep on cookin!

  18. This tart looks very similar to a recipe we used in a Sur La Table class some months ago… and omigosh, that tart was to die for! Mmmm… I can only imagine how tasty your version must be!

  19. Christine

    That looks great! I’ve made pear and almond tart before, but I always use the Baking Illustrated recipe, which is (obviously) similar, but has you poach the pears in sweetened/spiced white wine, which is DIVINE! I highly recommend it, if you make this again! The wine-poached pears are also delicious served on their own, with a generous drizzle of creme anglaise.
    Here’s what my tart looked like:
    poached pear and frangipane tart

  20. Mireille

    Formidable! J’adore. How I love pear and almond tart. I’ve also added browned butter, an idea I got from a bakery, which sells browned butter and pear tart.

  21. I think I’ve read that same article. I suppose when you can buy a beautiful pate sable in the supermarket, why knock yourself out at home. I have successfully used canned pears in tarts before. Sometimes, I just can’t find nice fresh ones. I reduce the syrup on the stove and add a little liqueur and then let the pears sit in it for a while.

  22. Kua

    Jana, dulce de leche is sticky, but it’s thinner than peanut butter and will act very differently when baked, so I don’t think it would work as a substitute.

    Plus, peanut butter is easy: Grind peanuts. Add a little oil if needed to get your blender or food processor going. Stop when you reach the desired consistency. Voila, peanut butter! (Not quite as pretty as the tart, though. Few things are.)

  23. In France we call it “La tarte Bourdaloue”. Yours is just perfect. I was wondering what to do with the nice little pears I bought recently, now I got a really good idea ! Thanks ;)

  24. Ahhh, I know what you mean about Paris. The last time I was there, I was literally just passing through and had a really short space of time to get from one side of the city to the other. I jumped in a cab and said, ‘drive – as fast as you can!’ It was so romantic, speeding across the river and looking back towards the eiffel tower….You have made me reminisce! And the tart looks lovely, of course ;-)

  25. Val

    We live in the pear capitol of the US, near Mt. Hood, Oregon, so pear tarts are definitely a favorite in my quiver of standbys. My favorite is very similar to this one, only you poach the pears in a bottle of white wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean. It is delectable! And I am excited to try your pastry shell tricks.
    Thanks for all of the mid-winter inspiration Deb!

  26. how funny — I just got engaged in Paris this weekend! great fiances think alike, I suppose! i had lived there for two summers when i was much younger, so my boyfriend knew it would be exceptionally special for me to propose there. i suppose i owe him a pear almond tart now!

  27. Great technique tips. It’s got to be the freezing that does the trick. And it also gives the dough some time to just relax a bit. I love pears–I just made a pear upside down cake that was delish; I actually considered a tart similar to yours, but couldn’t be bothered to deal with crust the other night.

  28. frangipane = love. this tart is beautiful. i love to bake cakes, but almond-pear tarts are the one thing that i pretty much always buy because i’m not confident in the job i could do. i’ll have to give this one a try.

    is there anyone who doesn’t want to be an expat in paris? except for people who already live there, or maybe in rome? at least among foodbloggers, it seems pretty universal (i know it’s true for me!).

    Michelle @ Us vs. Food

  29. Oh my god. My mom makes this tart, like every week. It’s an amazing one at that. The crust tends to get a little burnt/toasty so you have to watch out for that, but it’s reeeeeally good. And effortless.

  30. heather

    i’m glad i’m not the only one constantly trying to find my way back to paris.sometimes it seems ridiculous the amount of time i spend scheming. this tart looks amazing. yay paris, yay tarts!

  31. chaister

    The tart looks amazing!!

    I was just wondering if you’ve ever had an Asian pear? It resembles an apple in its roundness, but much bigger. The taste is to die for. Sweet, crunchy, watery, and not very tart… definitely worth a try!!!!!

  32. Matt

    I lived in France for a very short time(about one year…yeah, yeah, that could be a long time to some, but for me it wasn’t nearly long enough)….it’s a long story, but we were young and in love..:-)…and I swear that it is one of the greatest places to live! I don’t care what anyone says, everyone I met, from simple farmers to urban socialites, were mostly polite and good-natured(just confirms my theory that most Americans, especially the tourists, are nothing more than monkeys in cheap clothes).
    Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but I remember a little old lady that had a bakery(her husband had passed on…was a resistance member, had pics of him with his rifle and several GI’s around, he showed me the Vichy pins had taken off of the triators, etc.) that made something like this…. OH MY GOD….it was GREAT…
    Thanks for posting this….I plan to make it for my wife…she’s got a thing for marzipan, so I will take your suggestion…

  33. I made this yesterday and the crust trick is a nice one– the tart went over like a charm. However, I must say I found the pears to be underseasoned– I think next time I’d use wine or sherry or dessert wine for part of the water, and perhaps add some ginger slices to the poaching liquid as well. Or maybe I just had cruddy winter pears. : )

  34. This is the most delicious tart. I first made it from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts book in the late 80’s. I had the good fortune of using my Great-aunt Jeanne’s canned pears. The combination of pear and almond is lovely. It has been 10 years, but I’m inspired to make it again.

  35. I saved this recipe and took it with me to Dallas to make for Easter. Unfortunately the crust recipe did not work for me and I’m wondering if there is a missing ingredient. It was so dry there was no way it would ever “clump”. I added a second egg yolk and still it was not forming any sort of ball. Eventually I added cold water. 6 tablespoons before it would form any sort of dough.

    It came out fine in the end, rather like a cookie base but that was fine. Did something go horribly wrong or should there be more liquid to this recipe?

  36. Dancer who eats

    I just made this and it was good but I was disappointed. For some ridiculous reason, I expected the tart to be more custard like. (I said ridiculous, didn’t I?) It did look so pretty though……

    If I was to do the unthinkable and make something twice, I would choose the pear crisps over this tart. Actually, that’s a lie. I would make Alice Water’s apple gallete but with pears. That way I don’t have to repeat. YES!!!!!

  37. April

    I’ve made this twice. The first time the crust was dry, but I pressed it in a pan and it was fine . I used canned pears. Love the pear and almond but it was lacking. Second time I made it the crust came out perfect????Don’t know what I did. Boiled my own pears and added vanilla and almond extract to the water and let them cool completely in it. It was great! Can’t wait to try it with cherries

  38. hi :) with the crust (and especially short pastries such as this) because of the high butter content, it needs to be thoroughly chilled to set the butter after rolling. shrinkage occurs when the butter melts before it can set in place, for example if you over-fill the pastry with rice or if you try to blind bake at 160ºC you would notice the sides collapsing within the first 10 minutes. one of the tricks (if you have two identical tins) is to disregard the pastry weights and place the second tin on top then turn it upside down and blind bake it that way. another is to simply preheat the oven to 200ºC and then turn it down to 180ºC as you place the tart in the oven to prevent a loss of heat when you open the oven door.

  39. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for posting this recipe! I swear I had this exact tart in Paris years ago & still dream of it today! I never knew about frangipan! I thought that the tart had marzipan in it (yum). I am going to make this on the weekend for sure!

  40. A

    This recipe appears, almost identically (even the mention of canned pears and Frenchwomen) on Diana’s Deserts. Did you know that? The only recipe difference is the almond extract in the frangipane.

  41. Allyn

    Just beautiful. I was looking through a Julia Child book (I feel like a chorus should harmonize and clouds should part at the mention of her name), searching for something to make for my mother’s birthday this weekend. This is what I picked, and how lucky to discover your post as well. I hope my tarte turns out as beautiful as yours.

    Speaking of France, I’m trying to plan a summer there. I only have a few short months left! I’m considering applying to l’Institute le Paul Bocuse in their summer amatuers program. I’d rather have an intensive study in pastry, but I’ll take what I can get. Especially from Paul Bocuse. If you have any advice to impart, please pass it along!

  42. Sara

    The Velib bikes are the BEST!!! I seriously cannot say enough good things about them! I just came across your site today (and am LOVING it) and the first recipe I printed was your bittersweet chocolate and pear cake. It reminded me instantly of the first dessert my husband and I had after emerging from the subway in Paris. (We never went underground again!)

  43. I’m a French woman (or rather a French girl) and I never use ready-made dough! There’s just nothing like the feeling of rolling out your own dough while your little sister and brother try to tear off as many pieces as they can.
    As soon as I go back home I will make this tart. This will only happen in a month and a half, and i will be drooling over you pictures until then!

  44. Hi Deb,

    As suggested on your FAQ, I’m shooting you this question here as opposed to in email:

    Do you think this almond-based crust – – could work for this tart? I’m just nervous about possibly burning it in the second bake, since the lemon curd of the original recipe just chills to set.

    I can’t wait to make this and bring it to a dinner this Thursday; if I don’t hear by then, I’ll just intuit. And thanks for this painstaking index – I’ve tried about 10 of your dessert recipes so far, and am so intoxicated by your love of dessert! Big fan.


    1. deb

      It’s hard for me review a crust I haven’t made, but I particularly like the one in this recipe, as it never shrinks on me. (And kudos for the FAQ check! Appreciated.)

  45. Okay, it was incredible. Very impressive for my Sorbonne-educated host. I made double the filling (my tart pan looks maybe 1/2-1″ wider than 9) and could only fit 5 “wedges” (poor spatial planning) but the end result was art. Thanks for this perfect recipe!

  46. karen

    you mentioned store-bought dough would be okay… would you recommend regular refrigerated pie dough, or puff pastry dough (i’ve seen both types of dough on the internet)

  47. Nice recipe. Basic dough si all that is needed for sure. I used Giulia Sour Cherry Jam (from Italy) and layered that below the filling sans pears. Slivered almonds on top. Absolutely delish. I also added a wee bit of marzipan to the dough and did not use almond extract. A very small bit of vodka helps make a light crust. Thanks! B

  48. Donna S

    I love Paris too and I wonder if you have the recipe for an egg custard pie/tart that they sell in all the pâtisseries. I don’t know the name of it but I have looked everywhere for it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love this Pear Almond Tart. I make this recipe all the time. It is one of my favorites.

  49. Jenny

    Ok so Im going to make this tart for a dinner party tomorrow but I dont have a tart pan…is there something I can substitute it for? I have a cheesecake type springboard pan and a pie dish (but with no removable bottom). Help!

  50. Tep

    I’ve made this twice in one week. It is really a beautiful tart. I’m not much of a baker so all the steps were a little much for me. When I made the crust it was really flakey, not rollable. So the second time around I just pressed it into the tart pan, froze it for 30 min then baked it off.


  51. Hi Deb! This is my first time commenting on your site! Even though I live in Northern Ireland, I’m on here regularly and love to just drool over all the yummy recipies… LOL. I was just wondering if you could use peaches instead of pears? Also, got any tips for making yummy recipes on a budget? Hope you and the new arrival are doing well!

  52. Jen Sharkey

    I made this tart this weekend and I just have to say–it really was a show stopper! It did feel like a bit of a process…between the freezing & pre-baking the crust, the poaching of the pears, the almond filling and all…but it sure payed off! The results were AWESOME! I even surprised myself–thanks for the great recipe! I am definitely going to mass produce a few of these crusts to just have in the freezer, at the ready. I did have to add a smidge of cold water to make the dough come together but that was it. I love not having to use silly pie weights–the freezing & foiling technique worked like a charm. It’s such an impressive dessert without being too fancy. I will definitely be making this again…delicious!

  53. B

    This was one of the first tarts I made from a Cooks Illustrated recipe for a Christmas dinner…the amount of work, kept me away from tarts for a long time and havent made this since. may be now that I am more tart cognizant I should try this again

  54. Yannis

    I must say that i have had so much fun reading the site, looking at the pictures and following your adventures. The world is fast becoming a tiny place.. (I live in Athens Greece).
    Anyway.. Have tried many of your recipes. This tart I made last night for a dinner party.. I had a friend over who stayed in Paris for a year and made this tart for her together with the asparagus pasta and the leek and swiss chard tart as well and some madeleines from chez Pim.. All were greatly apreciated! Thanks a lot for sharing your recipes and world with all of us…

  55. Deb, a friend and I made this last night….it’s amazing! Thank you so much. We couldn’t stop eating the frangipani. MMMM!!! We also made a crazy syrup with the leftover poaching liquid and another chopped up pear. Sort of yummy ridiculously peary syrup we had over ice cream. Gah. You are cool. Bye.

  56. Christina

    I made two of these recently– one for my French class and one for my family. Everyone in my French class loved it and thought the crust was so good that it must have been baked in a pastry shop (apparently no one believes in my baking skills!). When I got home, it was already mostly gone. My family loved it! The only cons to it were that it was so rich, that it was such a process to make, and that it looked so good that no one wanted to ruin it to take the first piece! But clearly, it was all worth it. It was absolutely delicious!

  57. lizzy

    I make the pear and almond tart from Cooks Illustrated. There’s a whole step for poaching the pears in wine, which is wonderfully delicious, but adds an extra step and time. I’m going to do the idea of SaveMyPolarBear above and reduce the poaching liquid… maybe I’ll use that as the glaze next time. Maybe I’ll just do it the tres french way and use canned pears! I also use almond flour for my frangipane instead of grinding the almonds. It’s faster. I wonder if it would be tasty to use poached nectarines instead of pears sometime. For some reason my brain thinks that would be excellent, too.

  58. Hi Deb,

    I am prepping this couple days ahead and already made a crust. I wanted to ask if I you think I can use almond meal instead of grinding almonds and if so, do you think I should reduce the proportion of almonds since 2/3 blanched almonds will produce about 1/2 cup almond meal.



  59. I made this the other day (over the span of a couple days). I froze the crust, in tart pan, for about a day because that’s how my schedule worked out. It did not bubble- however, WATCH IT CLOSELY toward the end. Mine was just on the verge of burning at about 8 minutes.

    The pears were a cinch. The filling was, too.

    Kind of a lot of work, but it turned out delicious. Just watch that crust!

  60. Antonella

    I still have yet to put all the parts together for this tart, but had an issue with the crust (I think I’m crust incompetent). It was still really crumbly when I tried to roll it out I ended up just having to do the press-in method even though it had been chilled. Any ideas of what could have gone wrong with my technique? I’m still excited about the tart, though!

  61. amy

    Just wanted to say that I made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out *perfectly*! Thanks so much for the excellent photos to help give clarity on what each stage should look like.

  62. julia

    Deb, I fawn over your site more than most normal people should (but this is what happens when one is unemployed and one has an obsession with baking). I have never, ever had a single problem with any of your recipes, and I’ve been following for a long time ! I tried making this tart tonight (having lived in Paris for two years, I was feeling a bit nostalgic), and I just have to say that the crust is…bizarre. Mine would just not clump together, despite all my methods ! Even with cold water it still did not combine well. I had to resort to kneading it by hand, which kind of ruined the flakiness. Other than that, this tart is divine and makes me long for Paris (not that it takes much). I would LOVE to make this again, seeing as how everything else is perfect. I noticed a few others had a problem with the crust as well. I know this is an old post but do you have any advice ? I guess I could always use another crust recipe, but I like the taste of this one. Thanks a bunch :)


  63. deb

    Crusts like this, that only use an egg yolk for liquid, are definitely tricky and even a slight over-measuring of flour or powdered sugar or medium-ish egg yolk instead of a true large one can make a difference. The reason for this is that it will shrink less. If you have trouble again, you can always try to pop in an extra egg yolk, even half at a time until it comes together. (When I updated the recipe, over here because I was so fond of the crust, I added that as a suggestion for people who were having trouble.) Also, sadly, it’s almost a little easier to do this one in the FP, if you have one. Something about the way those blades pull a dough together really gets the yolk dispersed enough that I never need the second yolk at home.

    Hope that helps!

  64. Curious

    Hi Deb,
    I love your blog and I was planning on making this for a christmas dessert, what kind of syrup should I cool the pears in?? Also which is better the homemade pears or the canned?

  65. deb

    The syrup is the cooking liquid with sugar in it. I only made it with fresh pears but if you have access to very good quality canned pears, no reason not to use it.

  66. Lee

    Just wondering if anyone has tried this without the crust?

    I love a great sweet crust, but am looking to save a bit of time in the making and blind baking of the crust.

    Any advice would be appreciated..

  67. Yume

    Hi there,

    Greetings from the Netherlands, I backed the tart two days ago for some friends and they loved it, I made one little mistake to overcook the biscuit a little. When I took it out of the oven the first time after 25 minutes I thought it was too light so I put it back and forgot about it for a few minutes too long. This being my first tart ever helped me forgive myself, especially because the rest was sooo good. I served it up with some vanilla ice cream and a pear, sherry and rooibos caramel sauce. Anyway, I love your site and for what I’ve seen you have some beautiful recipes! Keep it up ;-)

  68. Stefanie

    Just made this for a dinner party this weekend and it was a HIT! The crust was absolutely divine. I think next time, I’d poach the pears with some cinnamon and cloves to add a teensy bit more flavor(althought that might take it away from being a traditional French tart perhaps?….). I also served this up with some spiced whipped cream (fresh whipped cream with a little powdered sugar, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg). YUM.

  69. Hi there, I love Paris and absolutely the place to be for those beautiful pastries and desserts. It is the home of crisp light as air croissants and artisan bread. I am new to blogging, just taking my time to do it since my mum fell ill. I love your website, and the recipes that are here work very well. Thank you for your writing those kitchen and travel tales its really a delight. I have made this tart before and its always a hit. I am making this time poached in red wine a recipe I found in Eric Lanlard’s book Home Bake. Keep writing those food adventures. :)

  70. jill

    Made this to go with dinner tonight and although everyone agreed it looked like it could go on a magazine cover I would make some changes next time. First, I have tried this crust several different times and never once had it come together. I don’t have a food processor, which is probably my problem, but today I added two egg yolks, and when it still was no where near becoming cohesive, I gave up and tried the “pat in” method. It was fine, but results in a crust that is too thick in some spots (since you can’t get it thin enough to fold over double thick sides). I had to buy pears the same day I made it, and they were no where near tender enough after 30 minutes of simmering. My husband suggests fully poaching them next time instead of simmering them, but I would probably try to start with a softer pear. Otherwise it was beautiful, and tasted great. We served it with a lightly sweetened whipped cream, but I look forward to eating another piece unadorned for breakfast tomorrow.

  71. Hmmmm this was so good! It was a labor of love because I don’t own a food processor (I also didn’t have blanched almonds so I ended up blanching and slivering them first….) so I do what I always do…alot of elbow grease – i.e. I grated frozen in butter and did the pat in method. I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t work because at the “pat-in” stage the “dough” was really more likes powder… I didn’t want to risk melting the butter. I froze it and baked it anyway – and it turned out great (crispy and crumbly ) except like jill above mentioned- some places on mine weren’t exactly even so it didn’t quite cook at the same rate ( a couple of burnt spots…)…but it still came together nicely. We had ours with a scoop of breyer’s natural vanilla ice cream. Delicious! (Breyer’s natural vanilla is delicate and light – a great match for this desert) Thank you for posting this!

  72. Tara

    Hi Deb!

    I saw this question asked but haven’t yet seen an answer. Wondering if I could use almond meal instead of slivered almonds ground up. And if so, can you suggest how much almond meal I should use?

    Thanks so much – this is the 3rd recipe of yours in 3 weeks! I’m going to make your buttermilk raspberry cake on the weekend too!


    1. deb

      Hi Tara — You can use it but I don’t know for sure how much. I would need to retest this and see what volume of meal it yields and I haven’t. Bummer, I know.

  73. Annie

    Been on the hunt for a good almond-pear recipe for a bake sale– do you think these would work in turnover form? I’d use a pastry dough instead, but never made turnovers before and worried the filling might be too heavy for a turnover. Thanks!!

  74. Hi Deb,

    I recently decided that if the apocalypse came one of the first things I would do is run to my local copy shop and print out every single one of your recipes. I’m a keen cook and I research a lot of recipes on the net but yours is the only site where I think, hmm, excess of pears from the co-op, going to dinner tonight… I know, what does smitten kitchen have to say!

    The tart was delicious and I especially appreciated the tip about letting the pastry case develop a nice brown colour – when I took the finished tart out of the oven I thought it would taste burnt but it just had a lovely rich nutty flavour.

    Best of luck with the book release!

  75. This is such a typical dessert in France. We have French friends who prepare it with chocolate, and I love that combination of pears and chocolate. I always have trouble with my pastry so I’m thrilled to have your recipe. I’m glad to know I can use canned pears…the French are so practical in some ways…but pears will soon be in season here so maybe I’ll wait a few weeks to try it with fresh pears. Thanks so much!

  76. loni

    Hi there, this tart is fantastic. I’ve made it twice now. Question….does it freeze well? Wondering if you’ve played around with it. It’s so much work to make one, i’d hate to put it in the freezer to risk it not being tasty when I defrost it.

    Also, how far ahead can you make it and store in fridge? Would I just bring it to room temp or pop it in the oven to recrisp the crust?

    Thanks for any insights on how to make ahead!

  77. Evie19

    Hi Deb! Could I make this in ramekins? I was thinking of putting one poached sliced half pear in each ramekin on top of the filling. Would that work?


  78. Ashley

    I’m tempted to make this foe thanksgiving even though I’m already stretched for time. It just looks so good! Do you think it would be good with apples instead of pears? If so what kind would you use?

  79. Shelley

    Made this for thanksgiving dinner (along with the recipe for pumpkin pie you posted), and it was absolutely gorgeous and delicious. My whole family lost their minds over this tart, it was more popular than the pumpkin! The tart crust is the most delicious crust I have ever eaten, and it crisped up beautifully on the bottom. I decided to poach the pears in a bottle of reisling, a cup of water, cup of sugar, and a vanilla bean spliced in half the night before I made the tart so they got to sit in the syrup for hours.. I would do it exactly the same way next time around.

  80. bell

    Hi Deb, do you think it would work if I were to use the frangipane recipe from your plum-almond tart instead of the almond filling from this recipe? Thanks! Bell

  81. Susan

    I used this recipe with slight variations as the pastry was too dry so I added another egg yolk and a table spoon of cold water. I used the press down method as it was too hard to roll the pastry and it worked out great.
    I also used a rectangular tart tin and instead of slicing the pear I just cut it in half length ways and arranged it on the top alternating facing up and down. This was the best desert I have ever made!!!

  82. Rebecca

    I’m ridiculously excited about making this today (it’s half done already)–my source for pear almond tarts went out of business after 20 years and now I’m left to make my own. I would love it if there were some weight measurements for this as well as the volume ones–it’d make it the math much simpler to figure out how to change the proportions for larger or smaller tart shells, substituting almond meal, etc. I know you’re working on that for the old recipes.

  83. The tart’s still in the oven, but looking good. The downside is that the crust shrunk quite a bit, so I could only fit 2.5 pears rather than 3. I may have overworked the crust, and I used pie weights just because I had them. Would the pie weights cause greater shrinkage by preventing the crust from setting as fast?

    1. deb

      Sengkelat — Pie weights won’t cause greater shrinkage… or, hm, I don’t think so. They’re more about creating a crisp base. But I see what you’re getting at and now I’m curious to do more experimenting. Thanks for the input.

  84. irma

    Oh wow, this was wonderful! Thank you Deb.
    I served this with milk ice cream while it was still a bit warm. I messed a little bit with the pears though; I wanted to use my new mandoline so much, I couldn’t help myself of slicing them first. Then I cooked them according to your poaching instructions (added a few cloves and cinnamon in the water) and arranged them on top of the tart which was fun, like an art project :) I still have leftover sliced pears in syrup; will have to make another thing with them. Thank you again, I had a very good time making this.

  85. Rachel

    Hi Deb,
    long time reader, never commenter :) I made this for Christmas this year and it was incredible. Perhaps the best pie I have made! I listened to one commenter who recommended poaching the pears in reisling etc. For some reason my pears took over an hour to soften, but they finally did and the pie was amazing! I also added a little more almond extract to the almond filling. WOW. Thank you so much to contributing such an amazing dessert to our big meal.

  86. Kim

    Hi Deb, just wanted to stop and thank you for all of your amazing, fail safe recipes. I keep going to your work for all my baking and I love how the recipes ALWAYS, even with enormous Christmas stress, work out!!! I can tell you that this can’t be said for most food bloggers, so a special thanks from all of us on the www looking for a reliable and delicious source for all our food.

    Btw, I swapped the almonds for walnuts, which is an incredibly delicious combo with the pear. It tastes like you are walking though an orchard in fall.

    Happy holidays and greetings from the Netherlands!

  87. Brooks

    I love pears and I’ll make this tart surely! I want to note that it’s not just tasty (judging by the pictures and ingredients), it’s very very beautiful. It’s important that food we eat brings also aesthetic enjoyment! Unfortunately, many people ignore this fact.

  88. Jessica K.

    I just made this tart for a work potluck and it made even the mediocre and out-of-season pears I used (I was trying to use up some free pears I was given) taste great! Even my boss, who hates pears, loved it. Unfortunately, the tart crust burned in 55 minutes, so I’d probably start watching it around 30 (I opened the oven at that point to check on it and it already looked pretty done). Everyone loved it anyway, though! I spent probably 4 hours on it, start to finish.

  89. Hilary

    Hi Deb,

    I made this last year for Thanksgiving, and it was as complete success! So, thank you for providing a wonderful recipe.

    I want to make it this year, but would prefer making it in advance. Can I make this tart and freeze it (unbaked)? I wasn’t sure how the almond filling would taste after freezing.


  90. Gail

    Going to try this for Thanksgiving this year, and I am wondering about the quantity of almonds. I happen to have almond meal in my freezer (I had to grind up blanched almonds for another recipe recently) and wonder if I should use 2/3 cup of that, plus the flour. I seem to remember that 1 cup nuts, chopped, is different than 1 cup chopped nuts, or something (!) and think that I might need to adjust because I’ve already got the things ground… Thanks for providing 3/6 of my holiday dishes this year (making the sweet potato roast, too, and the cranberry bars from your book)!

  91. deb

    Hi Gail — Do you have a scale? Definitely use the almond weight, if you can. You’ll want the same weight of almond meal. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes here. Have a great holiday.

  92. Nancy


    I have made this before and it is fantastic! We recently moved and I can’t locate my tart pan. Can I use a ceramic pan? If so, are there adjustments that need to be made to the temperature or recipe?
    Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  93. Gail

    Thanks for your response – the tart was delicious. I don’t have a digital kitchen scale so I just punted and used 2/3 cup of the already ground almond meal. I figured more nuts can never be a bad thing, right? And they weren’t! The cranberry bars and crispy sweet potato roast were hits as well. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful…

  94. Laura

    Hi Deb,

    Big fan. I am making this for a dinner party this weekend. I am just double checking cooking times. You want me to pre-bake the shell, fill it and bake it for another 55 minutes? I am afraid I’ll burn it so I wanted to be sure that’s what you want me to do. Thanks.

  95. Gabe

    I love this recipe and have made it several times – but I must now parrot several commenters in asking your opinion on whether the entire thing can be frozen (baked or unbaked) to be served at a later date.
    It’s birthday season around here and I’m sure you know how important it can be to have dessert taken care of in advance so we can focus on preparing birthday dinner!

    So, to freeze or not to freeze?

  96. Scott

    I just started the crust, and had big trouble. It doesn’t seem like 1 egg yolk would provide enough liquid for the crust? I added a few tablespoons of water just to try to get it together. Fingers crossed!

  97. Scott

    Don’t add water if the dough doesn’t come together. hahaha Baking off the tart shell made it slumpy and sad.

    Take 2: I had to let the FP whir for nearly a minute, but it did come together. It was sandier than I expected, but this time I opted for the non-roll out method. So far, so good!

    1. deb

      Jenn — A pie pan or cake pan, springform would be ideal. Just don’t put the dough all the way up the sides, but maybe 1-inch, so it’s the equivalent proportions of a tart pan. Mostly the tart pan is about the removable bottom; you can make it other vessels, it’s just harder to remove.

  98. Jinni Easterday

    I want to substitute Bob’s red mill Almond meal (100% almonds) for the blanched slivered almonds. I have it but don’t have the almonds. Would the measurement be the same? Thx.

  99. Joanne

    Just gone through a really delicious apricot frangipane tart, and I think pear sounds perfect for the next one! I’m thinking a few raspberries will be amazing too, yum.

    The conference pears we have in England are already juicy and tender. Does this mean that the poaching step is superfluous, or should I be poaching them anyway? What would happen if I skipped the poach- dry wrinkly pears?

    Another question- What does the little bit of flour do for the frangipane? Does it sort of absorb the oil released by the almond in the oven?

    Lots of love xxx

  100. Joanne

    @Jinni Easterday- As long as you keep with the same weight of almonds, it’ll be perfect. My normal recipe calls for ground almonds, but depending on what I have in the cupboards I either go with the instructions or grind down an equal weight of whole almonds/ slivered almonds. :)

  101. Sarah M.

    Deb, I have been eyeing this for the crate of Oregon pears I have (Comice, I’m assuming that’s fine to sub), but here’s my question: I have almond paste on my list for making Shutterbean’s pignoli cookies later, which seems very similar to this except for the butter content. Is there a way I can sub purchased almond paste for a number of the ingredients in this recipe, or (better yet) do you have a good recipe for almond paste, so my blanched almonds can pull double duty?

  102. Rose

    help! My dough came together perfectly, but then I had to chill it for almost 6 hours instead of two. Now that I want to roll it out, it is rock hard. I guess I have to leave it out to warm up a bit before I can roll it. Any experience with that, ie. how long that should take? Thankfully all the other components of this tart are independent, and can hang out in the fridge while I get tart shell sorted out! Thanks for a very accurate step-by-step…wish I’d been able to follow it!

    1. deb

      Rose — Either let it warm up a little or roll it very gently, not pressing too hard, so that it warms up as the pin stretches it out. Take your time with it.

  103. So I made this for my girlfriend’s mom cuz it’s her favorite. The crust shrank and the edges got to brown when i par-baked the crust. Maybe i spread the crust around the fluted edges too thin and tall because my tart pan seems taller than yours? Besides the crust though, everyone loved the tart! (P.S. Bartlett pears worked well also. I think the poaching process drowns out any of the spicy-sweet subtleties of Bosc pears so it didn’t make a huge difference.) (also i’m 19)

  104. Sarah

    Hi Deb,

    I’m trying to marry this tart with your delicious pear-cranberry gingersnap crumble for my husband’s birthday dessert this Saturday. (I want a cute little tart with gingersnap crust and pretty little slices of pear arranged with cranberries dotting it).
    1) How long would you cook it? The gingersnap crust for the tart will be baked blind already; I’m just cooking the fruit in it. If I follow the length of time for cooking this tart here, it seems too much … or no?
    2) None of us are friends with marzipan or frangipane here, so there won’t be a custard. But do you this it needs *something* ?

    I would just generally appreciate any of your thoughts on how to marry these two desserts… how to turn that crumble upside down, so to speak, and dress it up for a party.

    Thank you!

  105. Karen Aamodt

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve been looking for something easy to make that also looks like a million bucks! I’m the ladies who lunch will love this.