It’s my birthday today (forty no less! – see Here for my ramblings) and even though I have a strict ‘no cooking’ policy on my birthday, I’ve made an exception to make this decadent tart. I first tasted a chocolate and pear tart from a local Swiss patisserie a number of years ago and instantly fell in love with the ingredient combination. The rich dark chocolate is perfectly balanced with the spiced sweetness of the pear and syrup. I haven’t been able to find a recipe which replicates that wonderful tart, so I’ve decided to experiment and make my own version today.
Shortcrust pastry (this is by far the best shortcrust pastry recipe and I use it for all my sweet tarts)
- 175g (6oz) plain flour
- 65g (2 1/2 oz) caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 115g (4 oz) chilled unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
Chocolate ganache filling
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 160ml pouring or thickened cream
Pear and syrup topping
- 2 pears peeled, cored and halved (Bosc pears are my favourite)
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 2 star anise pods
- 2 cups water
Preheat your oven to 160 C. To prepare the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder and add the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the chopped butter and egg yolk. Mix together the ingredients with your fingers or blitz in a food processor. The pastry should resemble course bread crumbs but when squeezed in your hand it should clump together. This dough is too crumbly to roll out, so just press it in to your tart pan.
Lay baking paper over the pressed in dough and weigh it down to blind bake the pastry. I have clay cooking weights, but rice, lentils or split peas work well too. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and let it cool completely.
On a low heat melt the chocolate with the cream. Let it cool slightly before pouring it in to the tart base. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
To make the topping, peel, core and halve your pears. In a saucepan mix together the water, sugar and spices until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pear and continue to simmer the syrup until it has reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. I strained the syrup through a piece of muslin cloth to remove all the spices. Let the pear and syrup cool completely.
Slice the pear and assemble on the tart. Glaze or pour over the syrup and return to the fridge for another hour.
I’m very happy with the end result, though it could look a bit prettier perhaps. I will definitely be making this again…you should give it a go too!