Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pear and Chocolate Cream Tart

After repeated unsuccessful results with chocolate macarons, I had to try my hand at something different. (The truth is I ran out of almond flour after the 6th batch.) I bought pears in bulk last week, and we ended up eating a lot of them. Since nobody seemed to be interested in the last 3 anymore, I decided to make a Pear and Chocolate Cream Tart from Simple Tarts by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen. Although I love to bake with fruits, I do not necessarily like to combine them with chocolate. (Nuts yes, but fruits no, except in some exceptional cases like raspberries.) I was a little skeptical about this combination which I was trying for the very first time, but the result was pleasing. The pears melted nicely into the chocolate ganache filling, and the chocolate cookie crust added a nice crunchy component. I have to say that this tart is not photogenic at all; it looked better than in the pictures. By the way, I forgot to tap the tart on the counter it before I put it in the oven, hence the craters you see in the pictures.

The only difficulty I encountered with this recipe was the chocolate pastry which was crumbly and difficult to roll. This is the second time I am making this crust and I had the same problem the first time as well. I ended up pressing it in the tart pan and it baked to a delicious chocolate cookie-like crust. I really hope I can figure out what I am doing wrong with this so that I can use it more in the future.
  • 9-inch tart pan lined with Chocolate Pastry
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 3 medium ripe pears
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a saucepan, bring the cream and 2 tbs of the sugar to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Now add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, and stir until just blended. Spread the filling evenly in the tart shell. Set on a baking sheet for easier handling.

Peel, halve and core the pears. Put them cut-side down on a work surface and cut crosswise into thin slices. Arrange them on the tart shell and press gently with the heel of your hand to fan out the pear slices towards the center. (I find it easier to fan them in my hand before I arrange them on the tart.) Tap the tart gently on your work surface to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining 2 tbs sugar and bake until the custard is set and the pears are tender and glazed, about 20 minutes more. Cool slightly and serve warm.