pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate tart

pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate tart

Poached Pears (start one day earlier)
6 small pears, peeled, halved and cored
100ml water
90 grams caster sugar
10 grams brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

Bring all ingredients, except pears, to the boil in a saucepan big enough to fit the pears. Stir to dissolve.
Place pears into the pan, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes until soft.
Remove from heat. Leave to cool then place in the refrigerator overnight to allow flavours to infuse.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 stick / 114grams unsalted butter, softened
1.25 cups ground hazelnuts (or ground almonds)
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease and line chosen pan.
Combine hazelnuts and sugar in a bowl.
Add butter, eggs, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until combined. (Alternatively, place in food processor until combined.)
Spread evenly into prepared pan. (I used 1/2 cup muffin pans; yield apprx 12)
Bake until puffed / a few moist crumbs are left on an inserted toothpick, approx 20 minutes for muffin pans.

Hazelnut Filling
300ml milk
50grams cornflour
3 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
65 grams caster sugar
100 grams roasted ground hazelnuts (320F/160C oven for 10 minutes)

Bring milk slowly to the boil.
Mix cornflour, eggs and vanilla together well.
Pour hot milk over cornflour mixture and stir well. Return mixture to the saucepan.
Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add roasted hazelnuts to the cream. Stir well. Cool.

Assembly
Drain pears well.
Spread cooled hazelnut mixture evenly over chocolate cake.
Just before serving, place pears on top of hazelnut mixture.
Optional: melt some dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir after each interval. Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the pears.
Serve with whipped cream on the side.

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