Hmmmm. A French dessert served at the most American of holidays? Puritans and purists might call it culinary heresy, but we say, why not? Traditions were made to be tinkered with, and while we love our pumpkin pie as much as the next red-blooded American, we believe a little change is good for the soul, if not the palate.
Frangipane is a rich pastry cream laced with ground almonds. The almonds lend a nutty richness to the custardy cream, which pairs beautifully with the fragrant pears. You can use most any variety of pear, but juicy Boscs, Bartletts and Anjous are especially good this time of year. And if you want to make mini- tarts, try using tiny Seckel pears. If pears aren’t your favorite, try the Frangipane with almost any soft seasonal fruit that bakes well.