Many types of pears are in season right now in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia, as autumn reaches its final few weeks. With the wood-fired oven burning every night, it’s just too tempting not to bake, so I turn to low cholesterol alternatives to butter. The pastry in this tart is made with fat-free yoghurt and extra virgin olive oil. Topped with the goodness of Corella pears and almonds, the filling uses free range whole egg and is flavoured with vanilla bean paste and a splash of Amaretto liqueur.
Corella pears are named after the colourful Australian Corella parrot. These pears are great eaten raw and in salads. They are also perfect for decorative slicing onto tarts, as they hold their shape well even when ripe. Amaretto liqueur is almond flavoured, so it enhances the flaked almonds topping this tart. A lime syrup glaze creates a tangy burst and glossy finish.
Autumn brings Corella pears to the NSW Southern Highlands in Australia.
The delicate flavour and crunch of flaked almonds complements juicy pears.
Topping the frangipane with sliced fans of pear: leave them partly attached at the narrow end.
Place almonds in the centre then sprinkle sugar over the pears.
The tart is baked and ready for the syrup glaze.
Boil the lime and sugar syrup until large, glassy bubbles form.
Pour the hot syrup over the tart and let the syrup set before serving.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fat free strained plain greek-style yoghurt
1/4 cup olive oil, a little extra if dough is too dry
1 tbsp plain flour
50g almond meal
50g reduced fat unsalted butter, room temperature
50g raw caster sugar
1 large free range egg, beaten, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
2 Corella pears, peeled, quartered, cored, sliced into fan shapes (see photo)
1 tbsp raw sugar, to sprinkle
1/4 cup flaked almonds
Juice of 1 medium lime, for syrup
2 tbsp raw sugar, for syrup
Make the pastry:
Sift together all dry ingredients into a large wide bowl.
Make a well in centre and place wet ingredients. Mix wet ingredients well and then fold gently into dry ingredients, until dough comes away from sides of bowl.
Turn onto floured surface and knead lightly into a ball. Flatten to a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough to 3-4mm thick and use it to line a greased 24cm fluted tart tin with removable base. If desired, roll up any unused pastry, wrap in cling film and freeze for later use.
Prick dough base all over with a fork. Preheat oven to 200C and bake for 5-8 minutes.
Make the frangipane:
Mix flour and almond meal together. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly whisk in beaten egg gradually, then blend in vanilla bean paste and Amaretto liqueur.
Spread frangipane evenly mixture over tart base and place pear fans and almonds on top (see photo). Sprinkle pear lightly with raw sugar.
Bake in centre of preheated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown, frangipane has risen and almonds are toasted light brown.
Make the lime syrup:
In a 12cm stainless steel saucepan with a heavy base, place strained lime juice and raw sugar. Melt sugar over a low heat, stirring gently. Increase heat and bring to a rolling boil. Using a wet wooden spoon, gently swipe sides of pan all round, to prevent crystals forming; boil without stirring until large glassy bubbles form. Remove from heat and pour over pears and frangipane, avoiding the almonds.
Allow the syrup to set before turning the tart out. Slice so each serve has a fan of pear. Serve at room temperature, with a light dusting of icing sugar on the almonds, or a spoon of vanilla yoghurt on the side, with a sprig of mint.