I love all things pear: pear sorbet, pear crisp, pear tarts… One of my favorite desserts has always been (for as long as I can recall) a French Pear-Almond Tart: usually poached pears tucked deep into frangipan. Since I was already making a handful of desserts for Thanksgiving, and gluten free crusts can take quite a lot longer than the gluten-full tart shells, I decided to create a different kind of tart but along the same vein. It turned out beautifully. It was, by far, my favorite dessert on the table, and made for a wonderful treat for breakfast the next day.
Although I knew exactly what I wanted to make and how I wanted to make it, I searched the internet for validation and saw several variations of the pear almond tart. I came across a blog new on my radar, Simply Gluten Free, and while I don’t often trust sources I don’t know, I went with an adaptation of her crust for her version of the Pear Almond Tart. I trust her as a source now! Yum. One of the better white crusts I’ve made lately.
Gluten Free Tart Crust, for 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom
Adapted from Simply Gluten Free
1 cup white rice flour
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 taspoon xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons butter (since I use earthspread, it’s much easier to measure by tablespoon)
2-4 tablespoons ice water
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease your 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Mix all dry ingredients in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it’s well blended and looks like it’s forming little peas. Add the cold water, about 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough can stick to itself when pressed.
Form a ball with the dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to 1 hour. If you need to make it way ahead of time, take it out of the fridge just 10 minutes before it’s time to roll it. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a little tapioca starch if you’re finding it sticks to the paper. Flip the dough into your prepared tart pan. I found that some of the pieces fell apart, so just put those back together with your fingers.
Bake the crust at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
Pear Almond Filling
1 hefty cup raw, blanched almonds
1/2 cup raw sugar plus 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3 ripe pears (I used comice and bartlett)
Clean out the food processor from the tart shell. Finely grind the almonds and the 1/2 cup sugar. When finely ground, add the powdered sugar and pulse. Add the eggs, the zest, and the extract and blend well. Pour the almond filling into the par-baked tart shell.
Peel the pears. Halve and core them. Slice each half into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal (or however you see fit). Press the pears into the filling from the center out, so that it forms a star shape. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tart.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Turn the heat up to 400 and bake another 5 minutes (I like the pears to have a little color). Viola, easy, gluten free, dairy free, impressive tart.