Chocolate and Saffron Poached Pear Tart

 

Nothing beats the flavour combination of chocolate and pears. The pears are poached in saffron for a golden colour and cardamom, vanilla and orange for flavour. The chocolate texture is a mixture of a frangipane tart and a chocolate mud cake. All resulting in an indulgent treat.

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate short crust pastry:

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/3 cup almond meal

  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder

  • ½ cup icing sugar

  • 150g cold butter cubed

  • 1 egg yolk lighting whisked

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 2-3 tbsp ice cold water

Poached pears:

  • 1 cup caster sugar

  • 800ml water

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 10 cracked cardamom pods

  • juice of 1 orange

  • 2 strips of orange peels

  • pinch of saffron

  • 3-4 pears peeled and cored 

Tart filling:

  • 200g butter

  • 175g light brown muscovado sugar

  • 275g almond meal

  • 3 tbsp all purpose plain flour

  • 2 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder

  • 120g dark chocolate

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 3 medium eggs

  

METHOD

 To make the short crust pastry:

  1. Combine the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, icing sugar and chilled butter into a mixing bowl. Using your fingers bring the mixture together into a crumble.

  2. Add the lightly whisked egg yolk, vanilla essence and 2 tbsp of chilled water to start with. Using a spatula mix it through and bring the dough together into a crumbly ball. Try not to over work it, if it's too dry add one more tbsp of chilled water.

  3. Pat the ball down slightly, cover and place in the fridge for a minimum 30minutes. The pastry can be made the day before and stored in the fridge.

 

To make the poached pears:

  1. Add all of the poaching ingredients into a medium size saucepan on high heat. Once it starts to simmer turn it down and add the peeled pears with the storks left on.

  2. Place the lid on slightly ajar, simmer for 25minutes or until they are tender. Stir a few times while cooking to ensure they are evenly cooked and coloured.

  3. Once cooked leave them in the saucepan to cool down. The poached pears can be premade and stored in the fridge for when you are ready to make the tart.

 

To make the Tart:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C

  2. Lightly grease a 24cm wide round tart tin.

  3. Roll out the short crust pastry onto a lightly floured surface, 5mm thick. Gently roll the pastry onto the rolling pin, and then lay the rolling pin over the tart tin and unroll it. Gently press the pastry into the tin, cut off any excess pastry.

  4. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork a few times. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and fill with baking beads (dried beans also work well). Blind bake the tart casing in the oven for 15 -18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool.

  5. To make the filling, combine the sugar and butter into a stand mixer on medium speed, beat until it is light and fluffy.

  6. Add the eggs and vanilla essence one at a time beating in-between.

  7. Add the almond meal, flour and cocoa powder; beat until just mixed.

  8. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt. Once melted add to the tart filling mixture and stir through.

  9. Remove the baking paper and baking beads from the tart crust. Fill with the filling mixture, using a spatula level it out.

  10. Drain the pears from their poaching liquid and slice them up into any shape you like, halves, quarters or fans. To slice the fans; slicing off one third off the side then lay the flat side down on the chopping board. Slice the fan peaces out by slicing all the way through into 1cm pieces starting 2cm from the stork of the pear to hold it together.

  11. Arrange the pears on the top of the tart and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. This is a dense mud style tart so don’t worry if the texture is different to a fluffy cake.

 

 

Cook time: 120 minutes

Prep time: 30 minutes

 

Pastry and poached pears can be premade and stored in the fridge.

Recipe by Bonnie Coumbe. See her site here & Instagram here.