Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 13th January 2012

I couldn’t have picked a better day to prepare this warm Pear Crostata, the snow is falling and it’s so cold outside.  I think it may be the only thing I enjoy about the winter season, indulging in what I call warm and cozy desserts.  And this pear dessert definitely falls into this category.  I lined the crostata with rich and flaky pâte brisée and filled the tart it with a yummy almond frangipane with cocoa and of course the star of the show, poached vanilla pears.

A photo of an Italian Pear Tart with Chocolate Almond Frangipane in a green ceramic tart dish displayed on a cloth napkin on a wire rack.

I’ve always been a lover of fruit desserts but I especially enjoy pies, clafoutis and crumbles especially when they’re hot and bubbling right out of the oven and topped with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with a little liqueur. I’m perfectly happy hibernating indoors until spring, in fact that’s what I feel like I’ve been doing for the past couple of months.

A photo of Poached Vanilla Pears in a glass bowl with cinnamon sticks and star anise.

Liana, my amazing, “patient” (not!) daughter (no really she’s been very patient), has been my errand runner for the last few months as I’ve been testing recipes for my cookbook.  Unfortunately with our computer problems I’ve had to remake a few (20) desserts a few times and Liana’s patience is understandably wearing a little thin.  At times I’ve felt like tearing my hair out of my head or throwing the computers out the window but my main concern has been if this continues I may never fit into my jeans again!  Thankfully family members have been rallying around and picking up desserts.  It’s so difficult to resist the temptation to indulge when everywhere you look you see sweet treats!

A photo od a Pear and Frangipane Tart cooling on a wire rack with forelle pears in the background.

I sent Liana out to the market three times for pears for this tart.  I’m sure she was tired of receiving the notification, “you’ve got mail”, and in fact I’m sure my nephew was too!  I’m so tech savvy, wrong, that it appears he was receiving my never-ending grocery lists too.  Unfortunately every time Liana returned from the market the pears were either too big (or so I thought), a little too bruised or not so delicious inside.  By the third time I could hear her mumbling under her breath (not very nice mumblings I might add).  I’ll let you in on a little secret (something I definitely will not be sharing with Liana), I should have used the pears from the first market run, my small, perfect forelle pears look a little lost in my tart.  I’m thankful in the end that it’s the taste that counts…right?

A photo of an Almond Tart with Poached Vanilla Pears coated in Apricot Glaze.

When I was remaking desserts I thought why not make some extra pastry dough and stock up the freezer. Before long I was doing the same with pasta sfoglia (puff pastry), cookie dough and pan di spagna (basic sponge cake).  I’m hoping to do more of this in the future, dedicate a couple of days out of the month to stock up on the basics.  It’s extremely handy because you already have all the ingredients out.  And I think it will also lead to tastier individual elements of a dessert.  If I only have to concentrate on one part of the dessert at a time I think it will give me the chance to get more creative with the flavours.

A photo of 3 Forelle Pears.

I’m not sure why I haven’t been doing more of this.  When you have the basics on hand it’s so easy to put together a delicious dessert.  This tart took no time at all, while the pears were poaching I blind baked the pastry shell and prepared the filling and within an hour we were enjoying a warm, inviting and flavourful tart.

A photo of an Italian Cake, Frangipane Tart with Poached Pears coated in Apricot Glaze.

I love all fruit but I’m more likely to enjoy a bowl of fresh strawberries rather than grab an apple or pear from the fruit bowl, unless of course the apples or pears are baked.  If you have any picky winter fruit eaters like me Crostata is the perfect dessert, winter fruits shine in a crostata and it’s so simple to make.  Paula showcased the quintessential winter fruit in her Crostata di Mele and she coated the apples with a red currant jelly glaze.  Although Crostata is the perfect way to highlight winter fruit it’s also quite versatile as we see with Brandon’s Pumpkin Ricotta Crostata, Lora’s Crostata alla Nutella and Greg’s rustic, free form Jam Crostata.  And let’s not forget my favourite season, and my favourite berry; sweet and juicy strawberries are nestled on a bed of crema pasticcera (Italian pastry cream) lightened with crema chantilly in this Crostata di Fragole.

A photo of a slice of Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Tart on a white dish with a dessert fork placed on a red cloth napkin.

What sweet treat do you enjoy indulging in on a winter’s day when the snow is falling and it’s cold outside?

A photo of an Italian Pear Cake on a black wire rack with a cake lifter and a red check cloth napkin.



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Comments (12)

12 Responses to “Pear Crostata with Chocolate-Almond Frangipane {Crostata di Pere}”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    So funny, your daughter must be incredibly patient. I think my mother would have to bribe me well to do the same! This tart looks so beautiful though, I love the combination of pear with chocolate and almond.

  2. Lora @cakeduchess Says:

    I love your crostata, Grace. I can eat a crostata any day of the week and just love them with fruit. Your pear crostata is just divina:)Thank you for mentioning my Nutella crostata (can’t wait to peak at the links to the others you mention). un bacione xo

  3. Janet@FCTC Says:

    Beautiful photos. I love the glazed look of the pears and while I never would have thought to combine pears with chocolate, your recipe makes it sound delicious!

  4. Kiri W. Says:

    Oh lord, that looks beyond delicious! I love poached pears, and then inside a chocolate frangipane? To die for! Your pictures are amazing!

  5. Marly Says:

    This really looks delicious, Grace! Love this combination of flavors. Yumm!

  6. Beth Michelle Says:

    I love pear and chocolate together. I once made a chocolate upside down cake and it was wonderful. However, I think next time I will make poached vanilla pears to put in it! What a wonderful idea!!

  7. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Says:

    That looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Pear and chocolate are just made for each other.

  8. Carolyn Says:

    ah, Sweet Grace. You do make the most unbelievable desserts. Hang in there, my friend.

  9. Kita Says:

    Love the shot of the pear with the anise. Beautiful!

  10. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    Your daughter is a good sport:-) And so are you! I would have gone crazy if I had lost that many recipes from my computer.

    The tart looks fabulous and delicious!

  11. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence Says:

    Looks great, thanks for the mention!

  12. in season: pears | Café Zupas Says:

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