Pear, almond and amaretto tart with stem ginger mascarpone cream

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Almond has to be one of my favourite flavours, and as I’ve got a super sweet tooth I’m always tempted by almond puddings! This one is so easy to make and is really tasty, and is taken from Lorraine Pascale’s ‘Fast, Fresh and Easy Food’. We had this for pudding after our Butternut and sweet potato lasagne – much later in the evening though, because we were stuffed!

Ingredients

375g of ready-rolled dessert pastry (or you could make 500g sweet shortcrust pastry)
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
3 tbsp plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 medium egg
1 tbsp amaretto liqueur
411g tin of pear halves or 4 very ripe soft pears (I used slices as that’s all I could find)
250g tub of mascarpone
1 stem ginger ball (the type in syrup)
1/2 vanilla pod (or a couple of drops of vanilla extract)
50g icing sugar

You’ll also need a non-stick 10 x 34cm fluted loose-bottomed flan tin, or you can use a 17.5cm round tin like I did.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C)/350F/Gas mark 4.

2. Line the tin with the pastry (no need to grease), rolling out the pastry as needed. Be careful not to stretch or pull the pastry too much as this will make it shrink in the tin when it cooks. Get the pastry into all of the ‘flutes’ using a wooden spoon handle dipped in some flour, and cut off the excess with a sharp knife. Put in the fridge to chill whilst you prepare the filling.

3. Mix the butter and the sugar together in a medium bowl either by hand or using a hand-held electric whisk, until it is really soft and well combined. Then beat in the ground almonds and plain flour. Crack the egg in, add the amaretto liqueur, and then beat it so everything is combined.

4. Remove the lined tin from the fridge and add the almond filling, spreading it out evenly so it is nice and smooth on top.

5. Drain the pears and then arrange them cut side down in the almond filling.

6. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the filling is nicely puffed up and golden.

7. About 5 minutes before the tart is ready, put the mascarpone in a small bowl. Finely chop the stem ginger, add the vanilla seeds or extract to the bowl. Give the mixture a few stirs or otherwise the mascarpone may split and go grainy. Set aside for serving.

8. Check the tart is cooked by sticking the point of a sharp knife into the centre – it should be a little damp from the moisture of the pears, but not wet like the original mixture.

9. Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before carefully removing from the tin. Sift a little icing sugar over the top to decorate, and serve warm with the ginger mascarpone cream. Enjoy!

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