Pear and Spiced Chocolate Tart

  • 3 Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg

Bring pears, sugar, water and lemon juice up to a simmer.

Cook pear just below a simmer (and place a plate or piece of parchment over surface of liquid to keep pears from floating) until tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. After pears have cooled a bit, remove from liquid, sprinkle with brandy, toss and chill until ready to serve.

To prepare crust, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg yolks, adding one at a time. Sift together flour, cocoa and salt and add to butter mixture.

Mix until dough just comes together. Shape in to a disc and chill until ready to roll. If preparing ahead of time, pull dough from fridge an hour before rolling.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just over ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick. Line a 9-inch (23 cm) removable-bottom tart shell with dough, trim edges and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Dock pastry with a fork and bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream with spices to just below a simmer and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir slowly. Stir in vanilla.

Whisk egg in a small cup then stir into chocolate. Pour into chocolate shell and bake for 12 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then chill for 2 hours before serving.

To garnish with pears, slice, pears thinly and arrange over tart.

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