Chocolate and Pear Tart

Chocolate and pear is a match made in heaven and with this delicious chocolate pastry as a base, few desserts will be able to compare to this tart!

Poached pears:
3 ripe pears
750ml water
250ml sugar
15ml lemon juice

Chocolate pastry:
80g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
175g butter, cubed
230g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
10ml vanilla
15ml milk
50g cocoa powder
350g cake flour

Chocolate frangipane:
120g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
120g butter, cubed
120g caster sugar
5ml vanilla
2 eggs
125g ground almonds
25g flour

Poaching the pears:
Pour the water into a small saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice.
Turn the heat on to medium and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Peel, halve and core the pears and add to the poaching liquid.
Cut a square of baking paper that is large enough to cover the saucepan. Scrunch the paper up and then slide it down into the saucepan until it touches the poaching liquid.
Bring the poaching liquid to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently until a wooden skewer can easily be inserted into the pear quarters.
Turn off the heat and allow the fruit to cool in the poaching liquid.
Remove the pear once it has cooled and keep aside.
Simmer the poaching liquid until it reduces to a syrup. Reserve this to glaze the tart with once it comes from the oven.

For the chocolate pastry:
Chop and melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water.
Stir until silky smooth and completely melted.
Take the bowl from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add the cubed butter, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and milk to the bowl of a food processor and blitz together.
Pour in the slightly cooled chocolate and pulse to blend in.
Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the chocolate mixture and blitz until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball of pastry.
Wrap the pastry with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for one hour.

Lightly spray a tart tin with baking spray.
Roll the pastry to a thickness of 3mm and line the baking tin on the bottom and sides.
Place the pastry case into the freezer for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes.
Set aside to cool.

For the chocolate frangipane:
Keep your oven on 180℃.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and the eggs and beat together, scraping down once or twice, until well blended.
Add the almonds and flour and fold into the egg mixture with a spatula.
Pour in the melted chocolate and stir once again to incorporate, with the spatula.
Spread the frangipane mixture onto the baked pastry case.
Slice the pears and position each sliced half onto the chocolate frangipane, spacing it so that there is enough space for all of the pear.
Bake the tart for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and brush the reduced poaching liquid (syrup) onto the warm tart.
Allow to cool in the baking mould.
Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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