Dark Chocolate and Pear Tart

This devine chocolate tart was not only inspired by yummy wintery seasonal pears, but also a recipe I read in this months Australian Delicious magazine by Jamie Oliver. I adapted this recipe slightly and I also used the same recipe for poached pears as I used for my previous recipe of Tarte Bourdaloue

For me this tart is the ultimate comfort food, yet is still a beautiful and impressive dessert to serve for your next dinner party. The boozy pears, married with the gooey chocolate filling, along with the crunchy, toasty hazelnuts - just yum! And even though there appears to be a lot of components, this recipe is surprisingly simple - and guaranteed moorish!

Dark Chocolate and Pear Tart

Serves 10-12

For the pastry...

165g plain flour

35g cocoa powder

35g almond or hazelnut meal

120g unsalted butter, chilled and and chopped into 2cm pieces 

35g caster sugar

1 extra large egg (or two medium-sized eggs), lightly beaten

Toasted hazelnuts, skin removed and chopped roughly, to serve

 

For the poached pears...

750ml dry white wine

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 whole vanilla bean, spilt in half lengthwise and seeds scraped

Juice and zest of half a lemon

Zest of 1 orange

3 firm Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored with stems intact.

 

Chocolate filling...

110g caster sugar

100g unsalted butter, chopped into 2cm pieces

140g good quality dark chocolate (60% or more cocoa solids is best), chopped finely

2 large eggs

 

1. To make the pastry, sift together flour and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Place flour, cocoa, almond meal and butter into a food processor and pulse a few seconds until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. 

2. Place flour mixture and caster sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg and bring together to form a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and work gently into a disk-shape. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in a refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, to make pears, combine the wine, water, sugar, vanilla bean, lemon zest and juice and orange zest in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. 

4. Add the pears to the liquid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover surface with baking paper and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, strain liquid, and set pears aside in a separate dish.

5. Preheat oven to 200˚C. Lightly grease a 26cm fluted tart pan. Remove prepared pastry from refrigerator and lightly flour a flat work surface. Roll out dough, evenly, until about 3mm thick.  Gently lift dough into the tart pan, then gently press dough into and around edges of pan. Trim off excess dough and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

6. Once pastry has been chilled in tart pan, remove pan from fridge; line tart with baking paper, and fill with baking weights. Baked in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove baking paper and weights and bake in oven for a further 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven, then set aside to cool. Reduce oven to 160˚C.

7. For the chocolate filling, Place chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Place 70g of sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of water into a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until sugar dissolves. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and pour butter mixture over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly (to about room temperature, ensuring the chocolate doesn't set).

8. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and remaining 40g sugar until pale and sugar has dissolved (it should be quite light and airy). Gently fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the start shell. Cut pear halves into thirds and arrange on top of chocolate filling. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until set. Remove tart from oven, scatter with chopped, toasted hazelnuts and serve at room temperature with cream.