Pear, hazelnut and chocolate tart

Pear, hazelnut and chocolate tart

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

This tart uses a chocolate pastry, which works very well with the sweetness of the frangipane. The pastry can also be used to make an easy sweet canapé – cook in tiny tartlet tins and fill with flavoured cream. You will need a 24cm loose-based flan tin (or ring).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
225g plain flour, plus extra to dust
50g cocoa powder
140g chilled unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons chilled water

For the pears

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Sugar syrup
4 firm, just-ripe pears

For the frangipane

Quantity Ingredient
150g skinned hazelnuts
1 whole egg
2 extra yolks
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 teaspoons frangelico, (hazelnut liqueur)
45g plain flour

To glaze

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 quantity Apricot glaze

Method

  1. For the pastry, sift together the flour and cocoa powder, cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mixture, then stir in the icing sugar. Mix the egg yolks and water, and add three quarters of this liquid to the crumb. Mix together using a cutlery knife to create large flakes, adding more liquid if necessary, then bring together into a dough.
  2. Press the pastry into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm thickness and use to line the loose-based flan tin or flan ring set on a baking sheet. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until firm to the touch, 20–30 minutes.
  4. Blind bake the pastry case for 15–20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the pastry looks dry and feels sandy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC.
  5. For the pears, bring the sugar syrup to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Peel, halve and core the pears, then immerse in the sugar syrup and poach gently until tender, about 15–20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Put the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend until finely ground (if too coarse, they will not bind the frangipane). In a separate bowl, beat the whole egg and yolks together.
  7. Using a wooden spoon or an electric whisk, beat the butter in a bowl for 2–3 minutes, then gradually beat in the sugar, in 4 or 5 additions, until fully incorporated. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating well after each addition. Stir in the liqueur, add the hazelnuts and flour and stir well to combine evenly. Spread the frangipane over the base of the cooled pastry case.
  8. Drain the pears and arrange them cut side down on the tart, pressing them lightly into the frangipane.
  9. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30–40 minutes until the frangipane has risen slightly, and is set and pale golden. To check that it is cooked, insert a skewer into the middle; it should come out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the tart from the tin. Allow to cool slightly, then glaze just the pears with the warm apricot glaze. It is best served warm to room temperature on the day it is made, but is still delicious the day after.
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