This is one of my favourite desserts. It’s really quite simple to prepare and looks very impressive. I always used to bake the pastry blind but have found it really isn’t necessary making the preparation much easier.
125ml castor sugar
5ml vanilla essence
500ml cake flour
pinch of salt
5ml baking powder
180ml castor sugar
3 extra large eggs
2-3ml almond essence
150g ground almonds
2 large pears, peeled and sliced
juice of one lemon
45ml smooth apricot jam, melted
Pastry: Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add to egg mixture to form a “stiffish” dough. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until ready to use.
Roll out the pastry lightly on a floured surface, and then line a 25cm loose bottomed tart pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Filling: Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add almond essence. Mix in the ground almonds and flour. Spread the filling smoothly over the base of the pastry.
Topping: Arrange the pear slices which have been tossed in lemon juice over the surface. Bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Brush with apricot jam. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.