Poached pear and chocolate tart
(serves 8, preparation time 1 hour 30 minutes, cooking time 50 minutes)
March 15, 2010
150g plain flour with extra for rolling
1 level tablespoon of cocoa powder (I like the Green & Black’s one)
50g icing sugar
1 large egg
250 ml of white wine from a carton (you can use red wine of you prefer, but it doesn’t look as pretty)
510 ml of water
200g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
100ml double cream
55 ml milk
200g plain dark chocolate
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 - Swap the white wine for red wine if you want the pears to have a fuller flavour. The pears will turn a purple colour and so you will not have the beautiful colour contrast against the chocolate filling.
2 - You could add spices to the poaching liquid if you wanted a different flavour to develop.
Here’s what you do:
Step 1 - Add the butter, flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a food processor and blend. This is better than mixing by hand as the biscuit base is sensitive to the temperature of your hands and can easily be over worked.
Step 2 - Add the beaten egg to the mix and blend again. This should bring the base mix together, though a little water can be added if needed.
Step 3 - The dough should be wrapped in some cling film and chilled in the fridge for one hour.
Step 4 - Bring the water, wine, sugar and lemon juice gently to the boil.
Step 5 - Halve, core and peal the pears and then add them to the poaching pot and simmer for 10 minutes. This should cook the pears just enough that they are soft, but will retain their shape.
Step 6 - Lift the pears out and allow them to drain and cool.
Step 7 - Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and then roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface.
Step 8 - Lien the tin with the rolled out pastry and then prick the base and sides. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and then fill the tart case with baking beans or coins. I use coins because they conduct the heat better than beans and are heavier.
Step 9 - Bake the tart base blind for 20 minutes and then take it out and allow it to cool.
Step 10 - Decrease the oven temperature to 150 degrees.
Step 11 - Bring the cream and milk to boil in the pan, add the butter and then take it off the heat. Add the chocolate and then set aside for 5 minutes.
Step 12 - Beat the mixture and then add the egg and sugar and beat again.
Step 13 - The coins should have cooled now and can be removed from the tart case. The greaseproof paper should be taken out too.
Step 14 - Put the chocolate mixture into the tart and then place the pears on top. I like to cut the pears into joined slices so that I can fan them out on the top of the tart.
Step 15 - Place the tart in the oven and cook for 25 - 30 minutes.
Step 16 - Remove from the oven and allow to set for 30 minutes.
That gives you the basic recipe, but here are some extra tips should you need them:
Option 1 - You can retain the poaching juice after use and freeze it. This can then be used again, next time you make the tart.