I like dessert. I just do. In fact dinner doesn't seem finished until I've had it. Even if it's just a square of chocolate. Lately with all the fresh summer fruit that's around, I've been keeping some individual tart shells in the freezer so that I can experiment with different flavours and have dessert at a moment's notice.
The inspiration for this tart comes from some lovely Bosc pears that I collected for another project - a canned Pear and Vanilla preserve. I had one lonely pear left and with it, was able to make these two lovely tarts.
The addition of chocolate seemed an appropriate nod to my almost namesake dessert Poire Belle Hélène. (When is chocolate NOT appropriate?)
These little tarts are rich and tasty and seem to be just perfect for the cooler weather.
Here's what you do for 4 tarts. (I halved the recipe to make 2)
200 g (1 1/2 cups + 2 TBSP) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/3 cup) ground almonds
75 g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
160g (11 TBSP) salted butter at room temperature, cubed
1 egg yolk
Rub together with your fingertips, the flour sugar and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and work through together with your hands. Turn out on to a floured surface and work it together into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. When the time has elapsed take the dough out of the fridge and wait for 10 minutes before rolling it out. I roll it between two sheets of parchment paper and then mark a circle around the tin and then use a palette knife to separate the pastry from the parchment, finally using the parchment to flip it into the tin. Line the individual tart shells. You can make the pastry in advance and freeze in the individual tart shells or freeze any extra pastry that you have. If you are working from frozen, take the shells out of the freezer about 1/2 an hour before you want to use them. If you are working from fresh, refrigerate the pastry shells while you make the filing.
56 g (1/4 cup) butter
70 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
85 g ( 3/4 cup) almond flour/meal
1 TBSP all-purpose flour
50 g chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 small Bosc pears
25 g (1/8 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Slice the pears in half lengthwise and remove the core from each half with a melon-baller or spoon. Now slice finely lengthwise, keeping the slices together and place on a plate. Squeeze some lemon juice over the slices to keep from browning while you make the rest of the filling.
Melt the chocolate slowly over a double-boiler while you make the filling (or cheat like I did and do it in the microwave.)
To make the filling, combine the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour and almond flour followed by the egg and the almond extract.
Divide the filling between the tart shells and spread evenly into each. Divide the chocolate between the shells, dropping it in spoonfulls over the filling. Run a knife through the chocolate to mix it slightly into the filling. Now place your pears, keeping the fine slices together in the centre of the tart shell and press down slightly so that the filling squeezes up around the sides and the slices separate ever so slightly. Combine the granulated sugar and cinammon and sprinkle over the pears.
Bake in a 325 oven for 50 minutes or until the pastry is nicely browned and the almond filling springs back when touched.
Now taste it. You're welcome!