Pear tart with star anise

Pärontårta med stjärnanis

Pear tart on a serving dish

Swedes are really good at using spices, most notably vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, to enhance flavours. Star anise is less well known but goes wonderfully well with pears. If you want a nice fruit tart for a special occasion then this will be an excellent choice. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for pear tart with star anise


• Remove the butter for the pastry from the fridge 30 minutes before required, as butter at room temperature makes better pastry.
• If you prefer, use 250 g (9 oz) of ready-made pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry) instead of the pastry below.



125 g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
25 g (5 tsp) caster (superfine) sugar
pinch   salt
90 g (3¼ oz) butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
1   egg yolk

Star anise syrup

50 g (3 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
4 tbsp   water
1   cinnamon stick
2   star anise
1   lemon, juice only

Pear and frangipane topping

75 g (⅓ cup) butter, at room temperature
75 g (½ cup) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar), plus extra for dusting
1   medium egg, lightly beaten
75 g (6 tbsp) ground almonds
2 tbsp   plain flour
1½ tsp   amaretto liqueur, optional but worth it!
2   large ripe pears


1. Add the pastry flour, sugar and salt to a food processor and blitz briefly. Add the butter and process for 15 secsonds. Add the egg yolk and process until the pastry forms a ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.

An unbaked pastry case

2. Roll out the pastry and line a 20 cm (8”) fluted dish. Don't worry if it does not roll very easily: just spread it out with your fingers. Leave to chill for 20 minutes or so.

3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (360°F, Gas 5, Fan 160°C).

4. Place the ingredients for the star anise syrup in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Leave to cool.

5. Meanwhile, beat together the butter and sugar for the frangipane until creamy. Slowly add the egg, mixing until fully incorporated, then fold in the ground almonds and the flour. Mix in the amaretto, if using.

Pastry case with baking beans

6. Bake the pastry case blind for 15 minutes.

Pear cut into slices

7. Peel and core the pears. Slice thinly and place in a large bowl.  (It may be easier to slice the pear if you stand it up on a chopping board.) Pour over the star anise syrup and leave to macerate for 5 minutes.

8. Spread the frangipane over the pastry case. Dry the pear slices on kitchen paper and arrange them on top. Dust with icing sugar.

9. Bake for 35—45 minutes until golden and set. Leave to cool.

10. Decorate the top of the tart with pieces of star anise from the syrup.

11. Return the rest of the star anise syrup to the saucepan and heat until nice and syrupy. Brush the syrup over the top of the tart.

A slice of pear tart on a plate with lightly whipped cream

12. Serve the tart at room temperature with whipped cream.


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Editor and Founder