The Bourdaloue tart, had been named after a seventeenth-century preacher, Louis Bourdaloue. Reflecting religious beliefs, the pears are sometimes arranged into a cross. There is no need for poaching pears unless they are too firm. The best pear varieties to use for baking are Anjou and Bartlett pears, also known as Williams' pears. When choosing pears for baking, pick the ones that are quite soft (Ready to be eaten), have a good fragrance, and are smooth and unblemished with their stems still attached. Fall is the best season for these pears, but they are available almost all year long. Canned pears can be used as well. Use a 9''/23cm tart pan.
*Chocolate crust can be used as well. In this case use 220g flour and 30g unsweetened cocoa powder. In a food processor, cream butter, salt, sugar, and almond meal. Add the egg, vanilla, and blend to smooth then add flour. Process until combined. Wrap up and chill until firm. Pastry can last a week in the refrigerator or kept frozen for weeks. Use about 350g of the pastry, and work out to soften over a floured work surface. Roll out into a thin 0.12’’/3 mm thick round (an inch/2.5cm larger than the mold) and lightly prick. Chill if too soft. Lay over the greased tart pan. Trim off excess pastry and chill.
Process almond meal, sugar and starch to fine powder; set aside. Cream softened butter with a pinch of salt, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and process. Add the egg, rum and mix. Use almond cream at room temperature.
Fill tart shell half way with the almond cream; refrigerate or freeze to set. Meanwhile peel, core and rub pears with some lemon juice to prevent from oxidizing. Cut and fan the pears out evenly over the almond cream filled tart; press pears in slightly.
If using a conventional oven: bake at 375ºF/190ºC for about 45 min. If using a convection oven: bake at 325ºF/160ºC for about 45 min. Let cool. Decorate tart with some lightly toasted sliver almonds. Dust out the edges with powdered sugar if desired. Best served at room temperature – Bon appétit!