Pear and Chocolate Tart - Tarte aux Poire et Chocolat

8:31 pm on 18 August 2008

A Culinary Journey in Gascony by Kate Hill.  (Published by Ten Speed Press, Distributed by Southern Publishers Group.)

Makes one 10-inch (25cm) tart.

Especially for chocolate lovers, this is a chocolaty twist on a French fruit tart. Make this tart when pears are ripe and juicy, or use pear halves that have been preserved in syrup. If using canned pears, stir a little of the syrup into the final cream. This is a great combination of delicate pear flavour enhanced by the pear eau-de-vie and rich dark chocolate bound by a creamy liaison and served in a crusty shell.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe sweet short pastry dough (see below)
  • 8 oz (225 g) sweet, dark chocolate
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) crème fraîche
  • 3 large ripe pears, peeled and halved (canned pears work well too)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Poire William (pear brandy or liqueur)
  • granulated sugar

Sweet Short Pastry Crust - Pate Brisee Sucree

Makes pastry for one 10 inch (25cm) tart pan.

  • 1 cup (5 oz/140g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/55g) butter
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) water

Place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add the butter, broken up into small cubes.  Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the whole is crumbly and even-textured, like cornmeal.  (Alternatively, use a food processor or hand tool).

Stir in half of the water and mix quickly, adding just enough more water to make the dough hold together.  Pat the dough into a ball with your hands.  Let the dough rest while you prepare the filling.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and lay in the pan.  Fill and bake the pastry shell or bake blanc (empty) using pastry weights or beans.

Method

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Prepare the pastry and line the tart pan.

Melt the chocolate over very low heat or in a double boiler. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of the crème fraîche.

Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the pastry.

Core the pear halves with a spoon or melon baller, then slice them into fans by cutting lengthwise from the bottom almost to the top of the pear, stopping 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the top. Fan the pears over the chocolate and place in a circle around the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, but keep the oven on.

Mix the remaining crème fraîche, the egg, vanilla, and Poire William together. Pour around the pears, covering the chocolate. Sprinkle with sugar. Return to the hot oven and bake until golden or place under a grill for a few minutes. Let cool and serve.

John Hawkesby's Wine Suggestion

Dessert Wines

Soljans Fusion Sparkling Muscat N.V.

Paritua 'Dinah' Noble Semillon 2006

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