Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chocolate & Pear Tart


With its elegant topping of fanned pears, this tart looks and tastes like it's from a patisserie!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbs Dutch cocoa (see note)
80g pecans
50g dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids), finely chopped
80g cold unsalted butter, finely chopped,
1 egg
375g packet Carême All Butter
Puff Pastry (see note)
2 firm william bartlett pears
2 tsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbs icing sugar
Double cream, to serve

1. Process 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar, cocoa and pecans in a food processor until pecans are finely ground. Add chocolate, 60g butter and egg, and process until mixture forms a paste.

2. Preheat oven to 220C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Place pastry on tray. Using a 24cm cake pan as a guide, cut out a 24cm round from pastry. Place a 21cm cake pan in the centre of the round, and, using it as a guide, score a 21cm round in pastry to create a border. Freeze tart base until needed.
3. Quarter pears, then core and cut lengthwise into 3mm-thick slices. Place flour, remaining 1 tbs caster sugar and pears in a bowl. Spoon over the vanilla, then, using your hands, toss to coat.
4. Spread chocolate mixture over pastry within scored round. Place similar-sized pieces of pear, tightly overlapping, over chocolate mixture (you will have some leftover pear). Melt the remaining 20g butter and brush over the pears. Bake tart for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 190C and bake, covering loosely with foil if the pastry is over-browning, for a further 25 minutes or until pastry is dark golden and puffed. Set tart aside for 10 minutes to cool.
5. Dust tart heavily with icing sugar, then, using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelise pears. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with double cream.

- Dutch cocoa, available from delis, has a more concentrated flavour and deeper colour than regular cocoa.
- Careme Traditional Pastry, from delis, is handmade using the classic French method. Substitute 2 stacked sheets of Pampas Butter Puff Pastry. 
- To fan the pears for a snug fit and an attractive finish, place the wide edge of each slice closest to the pastry edge. 
- To decorate, cut a cross section from an extra pear or a pear shape from the pastry scraps, and place in the centre of the tart before baking. 
- If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch, omit the icing sugar and glaze the tart with warmed apricot jam instead.

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