Pear-and-Frangipane Pastries

pear frangipane martha bakes breakfast pastry
Photo: Mike Krautter

Poached pears redolent of vanilla and cinnamon are filled with spoonfuls of the rich almond custard known as frangipane, then nestled inside rounds of flaky pastry.



  • 1 envelope (¼ ounce) active dry yeast (not rapid-rise, 2 ¼ teaspoons)

  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 4 ½ cups , plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (1 ¼ pounds), plus more for dusting

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons

  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk

Poached Pears

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 8 small pears (such as Bartlett), stems left on, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored


  • ½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 large egg, room temperature, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • ½ cup finely ground blanched almonds

  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract

  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour


  1. Dough:

    In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk; stir until dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla seeds. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, mix together 4 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and 1/2 stick butter on low speed until butter is incorporated and mixture resembles coarse meal, 3 to 4 minutes. Add yeast mixture; mix until dough just comes together. Add eggs and yolk; mix until just combined, 2 to 3 minutes (do not overmix).

  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, making sure to include any loose bits left at bottom of bowl. Gently knead to form a smooth ball, about 30 seconds. Wrap tightly in plastic; refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together remaining 3 1/2 sticks butter and 2 tablespoons flour. Shape mixture into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate 15 minutes or up to 1 day. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 18-by-10-inch rectangle, a little over 1/4 inch thick, keeping the corners as square as possible. Remove any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Remove butter mixture from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until it is the same consistency as the dough. With a short side facing you, place butter mixture over two-thirds of the dough. Fold the unbuttered third over as you would a business letter, followed by the remaining third. This seals in the butter.

  4. Roll out dough again to an 18-by-10-inch rectangle, then fold into thirds as described above; refrigerate 1 hour. This completes the first of three turns. Repeat rolling and folding process two more times, refrigerating at least 1 hour between turns. To help you remember how many turns have been completed, mark the dough after each one: make one mark for the first turn, two for the second, and three for the third.

  5. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Dough can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 2 weeks (thaw in refrigerator overnight before using).

  6. Poached Pears:

    Combine wine, lemon juice and zest, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla seeds, and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Add pears, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a parchment round to keep fruit submerged; cook, occasionally turning pears by gently rotating the stems with your fingertips, until pears are tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer pears to a bowl. Return poaching liquid to a boil and continue boiling until syrupy and reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour syrup over pears and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

  7. Frangipane:

    In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a mini food processor, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, almonds, rum, almond extract, and flour; beat until smooth.

  8. Using a slotted spoon, remove pears from poaching liquid and pat dry with paper towels. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 20-by-12-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out 16 rounds and divide between two parchment-lined baking sheets. Fill each pear half with about 2 teaspoons frangipane and place cut-side down in centers of rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush rounds with egg wash, carefully avoiding pears. Bake, rotating halfway through, until pastries are evenly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

Related Articles