Everybody needs tender loving care (TLC), so regardless if you are celebrating Valentines’ Day or not, I highly recommend you make this tart because you deserve to pamper yourself. I have to admit that the beauty of this tart is what first got my attention, my full undivided attention. I was mesmerized on how elegant and beautiful it looked like that I cannot helped myself but be excited to make this. But after making it and tasting it, I can proudly say that there is more to this tart the beauty, it taste heavenly ridiculously sinfully decadent delicious and it looks gorgeous (you already know that)!
So it looks elegant, but don’t be intimidated by the looks of it as it is not as difficult as it looks. You can make this part by part and have it assemble on the day that you are ready to serve it. This cake has 4 parts, but don’t be alarmed by that because these 4 parts are pretty easy to make, and can be made ahead of time separately.
The process behind the beauty of this tart
First Part – Making the Poach Fruit: If you’ve seen my Poach Pear with Chocolate Ganache, then you know that it’s really a simple process to poach fruits, how difficult it is to boil a fruit anyway? Have a look and be familiarized with it because that is what we will be using for this tart. Basically, you will need to make a poach pear and leave it overnight. I added raspberry to give the pear a slightly reddish color which will look nice with a chocolate base, but you can also make it plain if you do not have raspberry. For this recipe, we only need 1 poach pear cut in half and left overnight. That’s the part 1, easy!
Part Two – Making the tart crust: Have you made any kind of pie crust before? or maybe a shortbread cookie of some sort? This part is similar to making a pie which is really simple. For a better texture, I strongly suggest you blind bake (pre-bake) the tart crust before using it, about 20 minutes then let it cool completely. This will make a solid base and will not soften easily when the filling is added. This part can be made ahead of time, cool, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Part Three – Make the frangipane (Almond Filling): This one could also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge overnight until ready to assemble. This is basically an almond paste filling made from almond flour, flour, sugar, butter and egg. It’s similar to almond shortbread but it’s a lot loose and runny.
Part Four – Assembly: The most exciting part! Now that you have all the 3 parts done, you are now ready to assemble it, bake it and enjoy it!
Are you ready to give it a try? Let’s have a closer look at the steps involved in these four parts. Let’s get started!
Let’s make the Poach Pear
- 1 Poach Pears cut in half
Check my Poach Pears post of the detailed instructions.
Let’s make the sweet pastry tart crust
- 1 1/4 cups (175g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp (20g) cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (14g) granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup (113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 – 60 ml) ice water (only as needed)
- In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Try to take a spoonful and clump it with your hands to see it the dough will hold its shape. If it does, then no need to add water (skip step 2) otherwise add water as needed.
- Add water 1 tbsp at a time in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary.
- Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, if the dough is not too soft to work on, divide it into desired portion. This recipe makes 6 mini pie of size 4-inch each or 1 8-inch round pie. If the dough is too soft to work on, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour or until firm. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface and divide into desired portion and arrange in a tart or pie pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap or put in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes before baking. This can also be kep frozen for 2-3 months. Bake without thawing.
Let’s make the chocolate frangipane/almond filling
- 1/2 cup (75g) icing sugar – sifted
- 1/2 cup/1 stick (75g) butter, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (75g) almond powder
- 1 tbsp (10g) flour – sifted
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (20g) – sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Beat butter and powdered sugar until smooth and pale in color. Add salt and vanilla extract and continue mixing until just combined.
- Add the beaten egg slowly and continue mixing for another 2 minutes.
- Add almond flour and mix for another 2 minutes.
- Last, add the sifted flour and cocoa powder and mix for another 2 minutes. Store in container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. This can be made 2-3 days ahead of time.
Let’s assemble the tart
- Pre-heat oven to 375F.
- Cut the Poach Pears: Drain the poach pear and remove the pit (if you haven’t done it yet) there should be less liquid as possible. Cut into 1/4-inch slices making sure that the sliced pear stays intact, do not move it around.
- Optional: Fill each pie tart with 2 tbsp of Raspberry Jam or Strawberry Jam. You could use more if you are making a bigger pie.
- Divide the chocolate frangipane between the 2 mini pie tart (or 6 if you want to use all tart). Scrape and level to distribute as evenly as possible. I find it easier to have the frangipane is a piping bag, its less messy and easy to handle. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a ziplock bag and cut the corner to make the hole.
- Using a knife, carefully lift the sliced poach pear and arrange it on top of the pie filled with chocolate frangipane.
- Place back into the oven for 45 -55 minutes (adjust baking time as needed as it will depend on how thick your frangipane layer is, your oven configuration and the size of the pan). You can tell when its done when the frangipane filling has already set and no longer wet.
- Remove and let cool completely before serving. I like making this ahead of time to allow more time to set in the refrigerator so that it gives a more stable crust and clean-cut.
There you go! a delicious and elegant dessert that is sure to dazzle your guest. I’m pretty sure your friends will appreciate all the efforts you put in making this. Enjoy!
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