Mary Berry's Partridge in a Pear Tart Recipe

Mary Berry's Partridge in a Pear Tart Recipe

Judge Mary Berry advises the bakers to make full use of the fridge and freezer when making the dough for her Partridge in a Pear Tart recipe for the "Pies and Tarts Week" technical bake. It combines a buttery crust and a pear and almond filling. The most challenging part of this technical bake is that the bakers must form the tart into a pear shape. Host Ian Gomez jokes the bakers should use his body as a model. There is a plus side to this recipe. No special equipment is required as it is a freeform bake. Can the bakers evenly cut and distribute the pears needs to make this tart? Watch the full episode of "Pies and Tarts Week" from Season 2 Episode 4 of The Great American Baking Show to find out.


For the dough:

9oz all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

6oz cold butter, cut into small cubes

1oz confectioners sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon water, if needed

For the frangipane:

2oz extra fine sugar

2oz almond flour

2oz butter, softened

1 medium egg, beaten

¼ teaspoon almond extract

For the topping:

3 pears

For the glaze:

3oz apricot jam

Oven: 375F


1. For the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the confectioner's sugar.

2. Add the beaten egg, then add 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix to a dough.

3. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface.

4. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the frangipane and topping

5. For the frangipane, measure the sugar, ground almonds, butter, eggs and almond extract into a bowl and beat until smooth. 

6. For the topping, peel and cut the pears in half through the stem end and remove the cores. Slice the pears very thinly vertically, stopping about ½ inch from the steam, so the pear slices stay attached at the stem end. 

7. Lightly dust a large baking sheet with flour. Draw a large pear approximately 12 x 9 inches including the stalk, on a sheet of paper and cut out as a template. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle approximately 14 x 10 inches. Using the template as a guide, cut out the pear shape and place on the baking sheet.

8. Using leftover pastry, cut a long strip of pastry around the cut out pear shape, ½ inch wide. Brush the edge of the pastry pear on the tray with water, then stick the pastry strip around the edge to make a border. Crimp the border using your fingertips. 

9. Using a small knife or craft knife, cut a partridge shape approximately 3 x 1 ½ inches from the leftover pastry and place on the baking sheet. 

10. Evenly spread the frangipane over the dough, leaving a ½ inch gap around the crimped border. This will prevent the frangipane overflowing as the frangipane overflowing as the frangipane spreads during cooking.

11. Heat the oven to 375F. Fan the pears in a decorative pattern on top of the frangipane.

12. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pastry partridge and place on a wire rack to cool. Cover the pastry pear stalk in foil to prevent burning, and then return the tart to the oven. Bake for a further 20-30 minutes, until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife and the pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

13. Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan over a low heat, and then pass through a sieve into a small bowl. 

14. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tart with a thin coating of jam. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


1. If too much water is added to the pastry it could make the dough too wet to roll. If the dough is not chilled sufficiently it will be too soft to roll.

2. Do not overwork the dough. Proper dough will have flakes of butter throughout to create flakiness and the perfect texture. If overworked the dough will become tough and lose the flaky texture.

3. If the dough is too wet or too warm it will be difficult to shape into a pear. If the dough is too soft the border will collapse and the frangipane will flood all over the baking tray.

4. If the pears are not sliced thin enough they may burn before the pastry is cooked.

5. Baking time is critical. To avoid any soggy bottoms. The tart needs to bake for 50 minutes. If it is overcooked the base will be dry, burnt and too crisp and the pears will be dehydrated. 

6. The tart needs to cool for 5 to 10 minutes to give it time to set before glazing. The glaze should be thin and shiny and evenly coated. It should look glazed but not swimming in jam. 

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