Thursday, September 16, 2010

Double Chocolate and Vanilla Poached Pear Tart

Hi everyone and welcome to my first blog post. Even though this will be a food and family blog my first post will be food related (as indeed most will be). I know I'll be blundering my way through this until I get the hang of it but please bear with me until I figure it all out. I was reading through the (mostly food-related) blogs I regularly follow and found a recipe for a similar tart which I based this recipe on. Here is the link to the original blog I found this on called  Confessions Of Tart. As I was having some friends over for lunch the other day I thought this would be perfect as I could make it over a few days therefore reducing the workload somewhat. I started off by poaching some pears in a lovely vanilla syrup. They kept well in the fridge for a few days and I think the flavour actually improved as I left the vanilla pod in the syrup. Here they are sitting in the bowl...

I also made the tart base earlier and stored it in the freezer to be baked on the day. The filling was a lovely decadent ganache-style chocolate custard which was easy to make and tasted a bit like a ganache-type of brownie. I used Whittakers dark block with 50% cocoa as I find darker chocolate a bit too bitter and this was what I had in the cupboard but I usually go for the 62% block. Here is it waiting to go into the oven with the pears looking a bit messy...

And just out of the oven looking slightly cracked on the top (as the recipe stated), but still a little gooey...

The girls loved it. I served it with softly whipped cream and that was all it needed...

Double Chocolate and Vanilla Poached Pear Tart

Base (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
1 1/4 c plain flour
1/4 c cocoa
1/2 c icing sugar (or confectioners sugar)
120 gm cold butter (I used salted butter)
1 cold egg lightly beaten

Mix all the dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse until combined. Cut up the butter and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs then slowly add the egg until it just starts to come together. If it's too dry you can add a bit of iced water. Tip into a loose-bottom flan dish and lightly press...try not to overwork it. Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or for a few days if you like.

Bake blind at 175 C for about 10-15 mins then remove the beans and brush with the slightly beaten spare egg white for a further 5 mins. 

Vanilla Poached Pears
4-5 firm pears 
5 c water
1 1/2-2 c water
Vanilla bean with seeds scraped out and pod

Put water, sugar and vanilla into a pot and bring to the boil stirring so the sugar dissolves. Add the halved and cored pears and poach at a low boil until they are tender. Mine took about 30 mins. Set aside to cool or store in the poaching liquid.

Chocolate Custard
150 gms dark chocolate chopped
3/4 c cream
1/4 c caster sugar
1 egg plus one egg yolk  (don't throw away the white)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and cream together in a double boiler then add the sugar making sure it dissolves. Cool. Whisk the egg and yolk together with the vanilla then temper them with about a 1/2 c of the chocolate mixture. Finally add the rest of the chocolate and combine well.

To Assemble
Cut the pear halves either vertically or horizontally keeping one side or end in tact. Fan out. Pour the custard into the base then place the pears on top. Bake for around 45 min. Cool for 10-15 mins in the tin then remove from the tin. Finally ENJOY!

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