Chocolate Tart with Poached Pears

 For Gau and Me desserts are a synonym for chocolate.  Gau insists I add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar to anything sweet I make.  But  I have already mashed up 2 of my favourite Masterchef season 4 recipes into 1 and made a single chocolate mousse tart, and I still have the dough for 1 tart shell sitting in my chiller.  I will go back and make the orange topping for another chocolate mousse tart, but not just yet.  Oranges are just beginning to come in, once the market is flooded with Kamala Orange, I will have my pick of sweet ones for the tart.

I had decided to change directions all together and tackle a fruity dessert for a change - Kylie's camera friendly Apple and Strawberry Crumble Tart.  But, Gau, after stealing his dad's slice and licking the bottom plate of the tart pan clean insisted I had to do another chocolate based one.

And as it happens, in yesterdays 9 pm Masterchef Australia episode, Audra made the chocolate frangipane pear tart! the one she had planned on making the day she ended up making the dark chocolate raspberry tart instead.  Again, it catapulted her to the finals week, sparing her the agony of making a zumbo style dessert.
The message all around me says Audra and chocolate again and I am obliging.

Minor error when I made this tart dough as per Smitten Kitchen Instructions for unshrinkable tart shell, I forgot to add the egg!  It was added as an afterthought after I took the dough out of the blender and gathered it all together.  Hope this doesn't hurt the final product.

First change/error, I forgot to butter the foil before I placed it on the tart pan base for baking.  Guess what's the best thing about a tart?  Whether the base looks like ooty roads after a landslide or as smooth as my 2 year olds plump cheeks, the base gets covered with the filling!
forgot to butter the foil

Second change, I doubt vincotto is available anywhere in Chennai, I am using cinnamon , zest and pepper for flavouring the pears.

Third change, I am not making a tartlet, I am making a tart. The idea of coring a pear while retaining it whole is frankly terrifying. I will take the easy way out and poach sliced pears to arrange on top of the tart.

Fourth  change, served with whipped cream on the side, not the custard recommended.

Recipe for Chocolate Tart Shell

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
125 g unsalted butter (1/4th of a std 500g bar of butter, Amul/Aavin/Nilgiris as the case may be)
1 large egg

 Blend the dry ingredients
Add butter pieces and pulse 10 - 20 sec at a time, scrape until the butter imparts a oatmeal look
Add the egg and blend for 15 s
Pour into a parchment paper and gather into a ball.
Chill for atleast 30 minutes
Roll into a 12 inch circle
Place in a buttered tart pan, press against the flutes, cut off excess with scale and knife.  (Good to eat ;)
Freeze for 30 minutes atleast
Cover base with a buttered foil, buttered side down and bake 20 minutes
Take out, remove foil and let cool.

Recipe for Frangipane

100g almonds ground in a blender, skin and all

100 g butter softened and divided
100 g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp cocoa powder

125g dark chocolate chopped

Melt a part of the butter and pour it over the dark chocolate and heat over a simmering pan until chocolate melts

Beat butter and sugar together until sugar dissolves, then add eggs one at a time and beat until mix turns lemony, add the vanilla essence and the cocoa and beat until cocoa is blended in.

Fold the chocolate and the almond meal into the butter-egg-sugar mix

Pour into prebaked shell.  smooth the top.  bake 20 minutes until set.

Poaching pears

4 medium pears
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 -  3 slices of sweet lime peel
1 cinnamon stick
5 - 10 peppercorns

Bring water  with sugar, cinnamon, peel and peppercorns to a boil

Meanwhile peel, slice and core 4 pears into 1/2 cm thick slices

Add the pear to the sugar syrup, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook covered 15 - 25 minutes until slices are soft.
Finished Tart!

Poached Pears out of Syrup

My Shell did not shrink!  I don't like contaminating chocolate with cinnamon, so though Gau loved the poached pears, I am serving it on the side.  Also he says this crust is tastier than the previous one.

Gau's serve
UPDATE:  Gau says this is the best thing I have ever made and he loves it with the pear on top.

This is my contribution to Priya Kumar's Best Tart or Tartlet event

I am also linking this to the Cook Like a Start Blog Hop from Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Anuja of Simple Baking and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.


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