If you ever wondered how to cram as much butter in a cake per cubic centimeter, wonder no more.
This recipe is based on a cake presented by Michel Roux Jr. on the BBC show Food and Drink. I suppose Michel Roux was targeting the Brit’s soft spot for preserved fruits when he constructed the recipe. But for me, the more intriguing part of the recipe was the French bit: frangipane and shortcrust pastry.
I topped the cake with some canned pears and reduced pear juice. For the pear juice reduction, I added 2 tablespoons of sugar for the juice of one pear can. From the total amount of the dough, I made one 23 cm rectangle tart and 5 smaller, 10 cm tarts. I increased the amount of frangipane by 50%, and it was enough for all the tarts.
The original recipe can be found at the BBC Food and Drink website. The recipe below includes my modifications, or better said, omissions.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
500g/1lb 2oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g/3½oz icing sugar
250g/9oz butter, cubed
1 free-range egg yolk
splash ice cold water, if needed
For the frangipane
100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
100g/3½oz caster sugar
1 free-range egg
100g/3½oz ground almonds
For the topping
can of pears
2 tbsp sugar
- For the sweet shortcrust pastry, sift together the flour and icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Tip in the cubes of butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and work together with your hands, adding a little ice cold water if necessary to bring the pastry together. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- This amount of pastry is enough for two tarts, so keep half in the fridge or freezer to use another time.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface into a large circle, as thin as possible, about 2-3mm thick. Carefully place the pastry over the tart tin and press down with a rolling pin to trim the edges. Gently push the pastry into the ridges and chill until needed.
- For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and then fold in the ground almonds.
- Spoon the frangipane into the pastry case and smooth over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling has puffed up and the pastry is crisp.
- Drain the canned pears, reserving the liquid. Cut each half in three wedges and arrange over the top of the baked tart.
Place the liquid in a small saucepan with two tablespoons of sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Brush the reduced preserving liquid over the tart to glaze.