Chocolate pear & almond tart

Pear and almond tart is one of my favourites and it’s very hard to make a dessert worse by adding chocolate to it, so I thought this was worth a shot.

The flavours of this are delicious, not too sweet but very rich. I like to serve it slightly warm so that the the middle is a little gooey.
I’ve used the same crust here as I make for my bakewell tart. It’s not the easiest dough to work with but it produces such a wonderfully buttery crisp base (almost like shortbread) that I feel that it is worth all the stickiness whilst trying to spread it around the tin. If you’re short on time (or inclination) then by all means use a ready prepared pastry case. I promise not to tell anyone. You can use fresh or tinned pears. Fresh obviously taste better and to poach them you just need to peel and core them before simmering them for around five minutes in a simple syrup made from 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. Easy peasy.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

Ingredients
serves 8-10

Pastry
150g plain flour
150g butter
30g icing sugar

Filling
4-6 poached pear halves (depending on size, mine were quite big so I could only fit 4 in the tin – 6 would have looked prettier)
100g butter
100g sugar
80g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Beat together the butter and icing sugar and then mix in the flour. This should make quite a soft dough. Spread this out into a well-greased, loose-bottomed tart tin. I use a combination of my fingers and the back of a metal spoon to do this. It does get a bit messy I’m afraid.
Once you’ve spread the dough evenly, cover it with a piece of baking parchment and pop it in the fridge to chill and firm up for 15 minutes whilst the oven pre-heats to 180°c. Cover the pastry base and parchment with baking beans and blind bake the case for 20 minutes. After this time remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes, until the pastry is just starting to brown. Set aside to cool a little whilst you make the filling.

Chocolate pear & almond tart

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the almonds and salt before sifting in the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Beat this together, I like to use a hand held electric mixer for this. Whisk together the eggs and almond extract before gradually beating this into the almond mixture.
Fill the pastry case with the frangipane mixture, spread it out evenly and then arrange the pears on top. You can see how I’ve sliced mine but really you can do whatever you like with them, it shouldn’t affect how the tart bakes. Push the pears down into the chocolate frangipane a little and then pop it in the oven for around 35 minutes. Once it’s done the frangipane will have puffed up a little to surround the fruit and it should be slightly crisp on the surface but feel soft to the touch.
Leave to cool a little before serving with a big dollop of the vanilla-rum cream.

Vanilla-rum cream

300ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp icing sugar

Whisk all the ingredients together until the cream is thick and fluffy. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Chocolate pear & almond tart