The adventures of Poire Bourdaloue

The Story

This recipe has a background for me. I had to prepare this for the first time during a baking competition. I felt confident when I heard the name because I knew how it should look like.

I started with my sweet pastry crust with certainty and my frangipane paste, that I’ve never made, looked good. Apart from the fact that I added way to much almond extract to it because I completely forgot it would become stronger in the oven, I blame the stress and time pressure on that one.

But while preparing the presentation for this Poire Bourdaloue, I heard them call out the remaining time, which was to my disadvantage. I put it as quickly as possible into the oven and hoped for the best. Seven minutes before the timer was bound to ring, I planted a knife into the cake and it came out SUPER wet! Terror came over me, I closed the oven put it on a higher heat and prayed it would magically cook in time.

When they called out that 2 minutes where remaining I had to take it out. Afraid, but well knowing how it would come out, I presented this before the judges. Ashamed, because I knew I could do better and that I have my baking stripes. With great anxiety, they cut into the cake, and it was not cooked through.

I came home feeling tired, mad and disappointed. Nevertheless, I looked up how to recreate a Poire Bourdaloue and tweeked it so that I could feel more comfortable preparing it. Baked it again and it came out great! Even though I don’t have the right cake circle yet and had to cut my borders into a high tray, I am still pretty happy with the result. It was fun preparing this cake in my kitchen, because it is actually very easy and not so time-consuming.

Your turn; The Recipe

Preheat your oven at 185°C

Sweet Pastry Dough

Frangipane Paste


  • 100 gr grounded almonds
  • 100 gr of sugar
    • The 50%/50% of grounded almonds and sugar creates a broyage
  • 40 gr creamed butter
  • 1 egg
  • 60 gr plain flour
  • 2 tbsp Amaretto


First I cream the butter into a large bowl to make the task easier, some elbow grease is needed but when the butter has a silky consistency it’s ready. Start by adding the sugar and the grounded almonds. Mix it in to a smooth paste and add the egg with the Amaretto and mix again. Finally mix in the flour, that you’ve sifted, gradually. My policy is to always taste your preparation, so at this stage you can taste it. Is it ok? Than put it into a piping bag and set aside.

You can also see that the dreaded almond extract has been eliminated in my recipe. I exchanged it with Amaretto. I find that it has better flavor and you can’t mess it up that easily.

The Pears

To make life easy, I took canned pears that have soaked in raisin juice. I took 4 out and put them onto some kitchen towel to drain out the juices. Then I cut them into thin slices to decorate my pie. At this stage I’d say to do your thing. Put them onto that pie like you want and make it feel like your own.

Finally; Putting everything together

Take the shape you want to use to build your pie. I took a 18 cm large round tin (not the best choice when preparing a pie like this, but I still don’t have pie rings, shaaaame) for the one you can see in the pictures. Grease your sides and bottom lightly.

Take out your sweet pastry dough and roll it out onto a floured surface into a 4mm thick dough. To put dough into any form can be daunting but I learned that when you fold you pastry lightly and lift the borders up it’s quite easier. Here’s a link to my baker goddess who explains this technique. And don’t forget to prick some holes in the pastry before adding anything.

When this is ready, add the frangipane paste. I like to do it in circles and then smoothing it with a pallet knife. When this is done, add the cut up pears by your own fancy. To give a finish touch you can add some almond slices.

To bake this, put it into a pre-heated oven at 185°C for about 30 to 35 minutes.

When the pie is in the oven, I like to make a glaze to put onto it. Using some of the raisin juice from the can (150 to 200ml) and some caster sugar (5 tbsp.). I heat this up and stir occasionally. I take it of the heat just before it start turning into caramel.

To check if your pie is done, insert a knife or toothpick and when it comes out dry it’s done! Let it rest some in it’s tin and than take it out onto a rack. I had some difficulty with this because I put it into a 18cm large cake tin. I flipped it onto a small plate and than back onto a larger plate. Some pieces broke off but that doesn’t alter the flavor ;).

When the pie has cooled down, you can add the glaze with a brush and Voila! Your Poire Bourdaloue is done!

The one I baked here was done in the evening. I know that natural light is really the best way to take beautiful pictures of your food but I was so impatient to share this recipe. Mind that most of my preparations will be made in the evening after my day job.

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