Having a boyfriend who isn't really the biggest fan of fruit means I'm always trying out new ways of incorporating it into my baking, combining them with his favorite ingredients so he'll ignore the 'horrible texture of the flesh' and eat it all up! This Chocolate, Almond and Pear tart has been on my to do list for a while so I set about it!
Now, I've made this tart twice as the first attempt didn't really turn out too well. Through no fault of my own, may I add....well, maybe it was a little my fault. The recipe doesn't call for blind baking the case so when the whole thing goes into the oven, the base doesn't actually cook through leaving a big soggy ring in the middle, yack. Also (this is the part that is just down to my own stupidity) once you cream the butter and sugar the recipe calls for you to just add the eggs. Silly me, didn't stop to think and just dumped them straight into the buttery mixture. Needless to say, it curdled more than I've ever seen anything curdle before, and no amount of me furiously adding flour could fix it. So there I was, trying to cover up my lumpy brown mixture with slices of tinned pear. Sure, it tasted fine, but all I could think of was the little curdled lumps. This simply wouldn't do!
The second attempt proved much more successful. I baked the tart blind for 20 minutes with foil and dried pulses then for another 5 minutes without to colour the base. I reduced the final cooking time by about ten minutes to compensate, basically I just kept an eye on it till the filling was risen and darker in colour. Also, I substituted the tinned pear for fresh, which I don't think worked as well. Maybe next time I'll try poaching them in an amaretto mixture.
I'm still not totally happy but Kris has begged me to leave it alone for the time being. Poor lamb is all peared out! I'd defiantly recommend making this tart, if only for the smell! It fills the whole house with the wonderful aroma of almond, which I just find divine.
Here's the recipe:
For the pastry:
100g plain flour
25g ground almonds
60g margarine, plus extra for greasing
approx 3tbs water
For the filling:
50g butter (I used unsalted)
50g caster Sugar
2 eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
2tbs cocoa powder
a few drops of almond extract
400g tinned pear halves in natural juice, drained
Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly grease a 20cm tart tn.
Sift the flour and ground almonds together in a bowl then rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water, a little at a time till the dough starts to come together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Roll out pastry to about 5mm and use to line your tart tin, prick the base with a fork and chill again.
(this is where I opted to bake the base blind, but you can go with your instincts)
To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs (GRADUALLY!! haha) then fold in the ground almonds, cocoa powder and almond extract. Spread the mixture in the pastry case. Thinly slice the pears and arrange on top of the tart, pressing down lightly. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the filling has risen. Allow to cool before transferring to a plate or tray.