This pear frangipane tart with almonds and lavender aka tarte bourdaloue is a perfect classic French dessert to start fall. The sweet crumbly dough, almond frangipane filling (almond cream) with lavender and pears poached in white wine with spices, will make you feel warm and cosy.
I love fall. I think I already listed all the reasons why in my chestnut dessert recipe, but let us remind why fall is awesome again; chestnuts, persimmon, pomegranate, pears, apples, colorful leaves falling down and the perfect ”not too hot, not too cold” weather (at least where I am)!
Read the post to get in-depth information and tips on how to make this frangipane tart or skip to the recipe.
This pear tart with almond cream and lavender is made of:
- sweet crumbly shortcrust dough,
- moist, aromatic almond frangipane cream with lavender,
- Bartlett pears aka Williams pear poached in white wine with spices.
It’s a classic French pastry that has been adored for years and for a good reason!
It makes for a perfect holiday dessert like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t be fazed by the recipe as it’s easier to make than it maybe looks.
How to make a Pear Frangipane Tart with Lavender
- Sweet shortcrust pastry
You are going to start by making the dough. The base shortcrust for the frangipane tart is made from basic ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, citrus zest, salt and vanilla.
We are using powdered sugar because that results in a flakier crust.
The yolk will provide richness and color, while the lemon and orange zest give the shortcrust the perfect aroma and make it 10 times better.
Salt and vanilla, I literally use this combo in every single thing I bake because it just elevates everything to a whole new level, so don’t skip that.
We are using a basic creaming method for mixing the dough, then chill, roll, poke with a fork and bake.
Pre-baking the shortcrust
You have two options here, pre-bake the crust or not, I’ve tried it both ways and both work.
If you pre-bake the crust, it will be darker in color, richer in taste and crunchier in texture. It is an additional step that takes a bit more time though and you can skip it if in a hurry or just prefer to taste more pears.
Not pre-baking the crust will result in a softer and lighter dough that will meld together with the filling and the pears.
2. Poaching Williams pears in white wine
We are using poached pears in the recipe because that will make the pears softer and more flavorful with a hint of the flavor of the used spices and wine.
Use a white wine that you like to drink.
How to poach pears
I prefer to use the Willims pears (Bartlett pears) here because of their amazing taste and the texture works well too. Be sure not to use pears that are too ripe as we want them to hold their shape and not get mushy.
Other pears will work too, and each different kinds, of course, provide different results in the final product.
To poach the pears you will simmer water, white wine (that you like to drink), sugar and spices. I used a cinnamon stick, lavender and cloves.
Then you will peel, core and cut the pears in half.
Place them in the simmering water and poach them on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
Take them out and leave to cool. Cut them across in 2 mm thin slices and that’s how we will place them on the almond cream filling.
3. How to make almond frangipane cream filling
First off, what actually is frangipane? Frangipane is a classic French almond cream filling made with pastry cream (eggs, sugar, milk, flour) and almond flour.
It has a lot of uses in the baking world and it’s very versatile and adaptable.
- You could use some other nuts instead of almond, like pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and others.
- You can add any spice, extract or liqueur you want; cinnamon, cardamom, almond extract, amaretto, Cointreau, even cocoa powder to make a chocolate version.
I added lavender because it compliments almonds and pear really well.
- When it bakes it rises up and stays very moist.
While a lot of recipes tell you to make the pastry cream first and then mix it with almond cream, I took the easier route which is just mixing all the ingredients together and then let them bake in the crust.
So you only have to mix the butter, sugar, eggs, almonds and lavender and then bake it, without cooking anything, easy!
The easiest way to add lavender flavor is to add a lavender extract to the frangipane, but I’m sure some people would have trouble finding that.
Instead, we are going to make lavender sugar which is just mixing lavender with sugar and then sifting it to get rid of the bigger bits.
I recommend using 1-3 teaspoons of lavender, depending on how much you like it, or leaving it out completely if you don’t like it or can’t find it. The tart will be delicious anyway. I, of course, used 3 and I think it’s balanced perfectly.
Assembling the tart
After you made all three components, you assemble the tart and bake it. After it’s baked you should brush it with some warm marmalade (apricot or other) to give it a lovely shiny finish.
It’s usually best eaten at room temperature and even better served with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (with some liqueur maybe?)
Can I make this almond and pear tart in advance?
You can make it in advance by making all of the components beforehand and storing them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How to store the almond and pear frangipane tart?
Store it in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Can I freeze the almond and pear frangipane tart?
Yes, the tart can be frozen. Cut it to smaller pieces, wrap them good in cling film, put in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Note on the baking pan: I made the tart in a long tart pan but you can also adapt this and use a round pie pan, but note that you will probably have to double this tart recipe depending on the size of your pan.
The conclusion here is that I think you will love this classic French dessert whether or not you use lavender in it. It will brighten any holiday table and bring a smile to peoples faces.
All the people I gave this to try really loved it, even if they’ve never tasted lavender, so I really hope you try it!
Other fall desserts you will love:
- Apple crumble cheesecake bars with salted caramel sauce
- Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes
- Chestnut dessert
- Apple and cinnamon crumble cake
- Flourless and fudgy chocolate walnut cookies
Pear Almond Frangipane Tart with Lavender
- 70 g butter at room temperature
- 45 g powdered sugar
- 20 g egg yolk from 1 egg
- 115 g flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest from 1 lemon
- zest from 1 orange
- 1 l water
- 2 dl white wine
- 300 g sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tsp culinary lavender buds
- 1 tsp vanilla seeds
- lemon juice
- 3 Williams pears
Almond Frangipane Cream Filling
- 80 g sugar
- 2-3 tsp culinary lavender buds
- 90 g butter at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 g almond flour
- handful of slivered almonds
- some apricot marmalade optional for a shiny finish
- Beat together the butter, sugar and citrus zest for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Add the yolk and vanilla, mix it in.
- Add the flour and salt, combine together just until you get a uniform dough. Don't overmix.
- Knead it into a rectangle, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile, make the poached pears and the filling.
- Bring the water, wine, sugar and spices to a simmer in a wider medium-sized pot. Meanwhile, prepare the pears.
- Peel and core the pears, then cut them in half lengthwise. Brush them with some lemon juice right after peeling to keep them from browning while working on others.
- Stir the poaching liquid. Carefully place the pears in, cover the pot with a lid and poach on a low heat for around 15 minutes or until tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat but leave the pears in the liquid until use.
Almond frangipane cream
- First, make the lavender sugar by pulsing the sugar with lavender buds in a food processor until the lavender is well blended and crushed into small bits, around a minute.
- Sift the lavender sugar to remove the bigger bits.
- Now combine the lavender sugar with all the other ingredients except flour and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed around 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and mix just until well combined. Set aside.
Pre-bake the crust
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- As said in the post, you can skip this step. Refer to the notes or the post for more information.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper or on a floured surface to around 40×20 cm rectangle if using the same pan like me, or a few centimetres larger than your round pie pan, if using that.
- Place the dough on the tart pan by rolling it around the rolling pin and then rolling it onto the pan.
- Using your fingers press the dough onto the sides of the pan and trim the excess by rolling the rolling pin over the pan or with a sharp knife.
- Prick the dough with a fork a few times (so that the air trapped underneath the dough can escape and the dough doesn't rise).
- The dough will work best if it's a bit chilled so put it in the freezer for 5 minutes if it's warm in your house.
- Line the dough with parchment paper (also covering the edges), and fill it with either baking weights, uncooked rice or uncooked beans (something to weigh the dough down) and evenly distribute. You just need enough to cover everything.
- Now bake the dough like this for around 18 minutes – this is called blind baking.
- Now remove the parchment paper with the weights and bake it for another 5 minutes or until it's a golden colour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Fill the pre-baked shortcrust with the prepared frangipane cream.
- Slice the pears crosswise to 2-3 mm slices.
- Slightly push the pear half towards the top side to fan it out a bit and slide the knife under the pear. Lift it up and place it on the cream each half facing the other direction.
- Sprinkle the slivered almonds around the pears.
- Bake the tart in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-28 minutes or until it's a golden brown colour. If the almonds start getting too dark, cover the tart with some aluminium foil.
- Warm up the apricot marmalade to make it a bit runnier and brush it over the baked and slightly cooled tart.
- Instead of poaching the pears, you can used canned or raw, but the flavor will not be the same.
- If you choose to not blind bake the crust, leave out the pre-bake the crust instructions and fill the unbaked dough with the frangipane. You may have to cook it longer and the taste and texture won’t be the same.
- You can replace lavander with other spices or some almond extract for a more intense almond flavor.
- You can make this tart in a round pie pan but you will probably have to double the recipe and bake it longer depending on the size of your pan.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped chantily cream with some liqueur.
- Keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or up to 3 months in the freezer by wrapping it in cling film and in an air-tight container.
- The best pears to use are Williams pears but others will also work.
- Use pears that are not too ripe to poach as they will not hold shape.