I’m stopping by today with a quick, but incredible recipe. A few years ago, I took a trip to California and spent some time exploring wine country out in Santa Ynez. While I was there, I ate at the cutest and most amazing Italian restaurant, Trattoria Grappolo. Everything from the food to the decor was so authentic that the experience totally had me believing I was in Italy. After stuffing my face with mouth watering pasta and smoked mozzarella stuffed bread, I for some reason, still had to take a look at their dessert menu. I often times have an issue with restaurant desserts that try too hard to be overly complicated. Brownie à la mode and chocolate cake are perfection if you ask me, but when I saw Almond Cream Pear Tart on their menu, I was immediately sold.
As I’ve mentioned before, I go crazy for just about anything almond flavored and this tart was no exception. I was so excited to discover that this dessert is in the restaurant’s cookbook. I am usually partial to chocolate desserts, but this is one of the best desserts I have ever had. It is super moist and full of a double dose of almond from both almond paste and almond extract.
Before exploring the Grappolo cookbook, I assumed this dessert was extremely complicated and involved, but it is surprisingly very simple. The tarts can be made right in a muffin tin, so no need for any fancy tart pans or ramekins. I have made this recipe countless times and I’ve never had any issues, so I can guarantee yours will come out flawlessly as well. If you’re looking for something different to add to your Thanksgiving dessert spread or just an excuse to make a fancy looking, yet simple dessert, these tarts are definitely a winner.
Almond Cream Pear Tart
Yield: 8 individual sized tarts
14 oz. almond paste
1/3 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1/3 of a lemon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 canned pears, cut in half lengthwise
Powdered sugar for dusting
Whipped cream and strawberries for garnish
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp. water
Using a food processor, pulse almond paste, sugar and zest. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Slowly add butter a little at a time; stop and scrape down sides. Turn mixer on again and add eggs, one at a time, then add almond extract and flour.
Spray eight 4 oz ramekins (or 8 cups of a muffin pan) with nonstick spray and fill cups evenly. Pour in and smooth batter and place a slice of pear on top. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until medium golden-brown. After the cakes have cooled, glaze the tops with the apricot glaze. Dust with powdered sugar, whipped cream and a strawberry. Serve warm.
To make the glaze: melt the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan. Pour through strainer and brush evenly over cooled tarts.