Try these simple almond tarts made with juicy seasonal pears and a hint of amaretto – perfect for a dinner party or afternoon tea.
To make the pastry, process the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and the water. Process until the dough just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Preheat oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out to 3mm (¼in) thick. Line 6 round 10cm (4in) fluted tart tins with removable bases, trimming off any excess pastry. Prick the bases with a fork.
Line the inside of the pastry cases with nonstick baking paper. Blind bake (cover the base with pastry weights or rice) for 8 minutes. Remove the paper and the weights or rice, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool, while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. In a bowl, beat the caster sugar, butter and ground almonds using an electric hand whisk for 1-2 minutes, until pale and creamy. Add the egg, and beat well. Add ½ the amaretto and flour and beat until just combined.
Spoon the almond mixture into pastry cases and smooth the surface. Thinly slice the pears and arrange on top, slightly overlapping. Gently press into the almond mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and the almond mixture is firm to the touch. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Combine the warmed jam and the remaining amaretto in a bowl. Brush the tarts with the jam mixture and serve with double cream, if you like.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving.
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