Velvety almond pastry cream, baked pears and silky vegan caramel, this tart is undoubtedly a showstopper of a dessert. And if you think the words caramel, pastry and frangipane don’t go with the words vegan and gluten-free, you’re wrong!
To make this pear and caramel frangipane tart, we’re going to make all of these things. I’ve linked the recipes for gluten-free pie dough and a vegan caramel that will take you straight back to the days when you ate carefree without any dietary restrictions.
What do you need to know before you embark on an afternoon of French tart making? This recipe is essentially three recipes rolled into one. Start by making the pastry, then move onto the caramel and make the frangipane just before you are ready to assemble. Make sure the caramel and pastry have cooled before you throw them into a lifelong union together, don’t cut your pears until you are absolutely ready to use them (or they’ll turn brown) and you will need a tin of chickpeas (see the aquafaba notes).
A little lengthy, yes but I’ll say it again velvety almond pastry cream, baked pears and silky vegan caramel!
Hate scrolling through reams of text before you get to the recipe? Me too! I’ve included all the recipe notes at the bottom of the page with the hope of improving your experience here at blue border. Everything you need to know about this pear and caramel frangipane tart recipe is there, including answers to your questions and ingredient/substitution suggestions. If you find this useful I’d love your support on Instagram, click here to follow.
For the pastry
- ½ portion of pie dough pastry, rested
For the caramel
- 200g vegan caramel
For the pear frangipane
- 45g aquafaba, *see notes
- 75g non-dairy butter or margarine
- 75g caster sugar
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- pinch salt
- 30g gluten-free flour, all-purpose
- ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
- 80g ground almonds
- 2-3 ripe pears
icing sugar to serve
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 24cm loose bottom tart tin and line the base with a round of parchment paper.
Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the pastry to approx. 3mm thick. Gently roll the pastry onto the rolling pin, transfer to the tart dish and shape the pastry along the sides of the tin. Trim off the edges and prick the base with a fork. Place a piece of parchment over the pastry, fill with baking beads and blind bake for 20mins.
Make the caramel while the pastry bakes.
When the pastry is ready, remove the parchment paper and baking beads and set aside to cool while you make the frangipane.
Place the aquafaba in a clean, dry bowl and use electric beaters or a stand mixer to beat the aquafaba for 10mins or until it reaches soft peaks. Set to one side.
In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together for 3mins using electric beaters or a stand mixer. Add the almond extract and mix briefly. Sift the flour, xanthan gum and salt into the bowl and add the ground almonds. Mix until well combined.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold a third of the beaten aquafaba into the frangipane batter. Add another third to the batter and repeat until all the aquafaba is incorporated.
To assemble, spread the caramel over the pastry base and spoon the frangipane over the caramel in 5-6 dollops. Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the frangipane across the tart, taking care not to let the caramel rise up and over the batter.
Cut the pears in half and remove the core and stalk (I left the skin on but you can peel them if you prefer). Thinly slice the pears (from the bottom end to the stalk end) and use a spatula to carefully transfer them onto the frangipane, with the stalk end of the pear in the centre of the tart. Gently fan the pear slices apart and press into the frangipane. Bake for 45mins or until the frangipane has set.
Allow the tart to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and slicing.
NOTES: Pear and Caramel Frangipane Tart
Gluten-free, Vegan Pastry Tips
I highly recommend making your gluten-free vegan pastry with solid vegan butter. In the UK and Europe try Naturli Vegan Block. In the US I know the solid vegan butter brands are Earth Balance, Miyoko or Country Crock Plant Butter.
Depending on the flour brand and butter brand you use, your pastry may need more or less water. Start by adding 1-2 tablespoons of water and if you find your pastry is cracking excessively, add more water until it’s easy to roll out and shape.
I use Dove’s Farm gluten-free flour and love the way it performs.
If you’re in the US try Bob’s Red Mill One for One gluten-free flour or King Arthurs all-purpose gluten-free flour.
Aquafaba is the liquid from a tin of chickpeas. Open a tin of chickpeas and use a fine-mesh sieve or a nut milk bag to drain the liquid from the tin into a bowl.
For the best results from aquafaba, I recommend reducing it by ⅓ to ½ and beating it cold from the fridge. To reduce the aquafaba place it in a small pot and bring to the boil, turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 5mins. Transfer to a heatproof container and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Aquafaba does go bad quickly so pour whatever you don’t use into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Xanthan gum (what is it and do I have to use it?)
Xanthan gum is a binder made through the process of fermenting simple sugars. In this recipe, xanthan gum helps hold the frangipane together in the absence of natural binders like eggs and gluten.
I have only tested the recipe with xanthan gum but since it does contain aquafaba it may work without it. If you’re opposed to using xanthan gum and want to try the recipe without it, go for it. If you do, and it works I would love to know! Leave me a comment down below.
Can I buy vegan caramel instead of making it?
Yes, there are lots of options for store-bought vegan caramel and you should be able to find some in your online or in your local health food store.
Natures Charm is the a good world wide brand to look out for.
I don’t like the flavour of almond extract, can I use vanilla?
Of course, if you don’t like that marzipan flavour sub the ½ teaspoon of almond extract for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You will still get an almond flavour from the ground almonds but it will be very subtle.
Can I make this recipe with a different fruit?
Definitely, apples would be the best swap for pears but you could also stud the frangipane with fresh berries like blueberries, blackberries or raspberries or try the raspberry Bakewell tart for a different frangipane recipe.