February 28, 2014

Pear & Chocolate Tart

I'm moving everything from the cooking closet [my other blog that has been inactive for over a year] over here to MN365. I'm decluttering. Hope it's not too annoying! (-:


Waaaaay back when I lived in NC, my birthday buddy, MG made a very similar tart to this one. She inspired me, but then I couldn't find a recipe and I was too lazy to ask, so I made this one up from a couple of sources.
chocolate pear tart
Me? Making things up? Control your shock. (-:

You want to start with a shell, I like pie crust. Here's a recipe I've used in the past, but this time I went with gluten free recipe and it was a little dense compared to what I usually like, so that needs some work. Is that a gluten free problem? Or just an amy problem? Bake it in a tart pan and let it cool.
chocolate and pear
Then make your ganache. I live in an area that has minimal fancy-schmancy grocery stores and I'm on a budget so I went with Ghirardelli because a) I could find it, b) I could afford it and c) I like it. I did a mixture of two parts dark chocolate [the bar] and one part milk chocolate [the chips].
Add heavy cream and gentle heat in your faux double boiler [aka your glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water]. Yes, you're technically supposed to heat the cream first and then add the chocolate, but I'm always putting the cart before the horse and it worked out. Which is probably why the cart keeps getting in front. Oops. Low and slow, once the chocolate melts and becomes glossy and beautiful, spread it in your cooled crust.
ganache in a crust
And you can top it with a bit of salt if you're into that kind of thing. I am.

Prepare the pears!
Get them nekkid, cut them in half, and take out the core! Do it or forever regret your negligence of pear-dom. Basically, what I'm saying is peel your pears, halve them and carefully remove the core because it's tough.
vanilla bean paste
I may have over-lightened this photo. We all have our days...

Next, you're going to poach your pears. Start with water, sugar, and vanilla [I used vanilla bean paste, I'm in love] in your pot. Bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, add your pears, swish it around a bit and cover the pot and let it come to room temperature.
vanilla simple syrup
vanilla simple syruppoached pears
Once you've let them cool, you'll have lovely vanilla-infused, perfectly cooked pears to slice up and place upon your ganache.
poached pears
Arrange the pears starting at the outside and working your way in. It's a fancy look with minimal effort.
chocolate pear tart
This is the point where I made a drastic mistake. I used about half my pears that I'd poached thinking that it was lovely this way. I was wrong. LAYER it up! You want a whole heckuva lot of pears on that baby...otherwise you won't be able to taste them. That is sad. You'll have to add the extra pears to your slice later like I did.
chocolate pear tart
I prefer this tart cold, directly from the refrigerator. That may be a personal preference, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.
the perfect bite.jpg
And that's the perfect bite.

Pear and Chocolate Tart
For one 9-inch tart pan

Use your favorite pie crust in your tart pan or pie dish and bake it. Let it cool while you prepare the ganache and pears.

  • 4 oz [one bar] Semi-sweet Chocolate
  • 2 oz, or 1/4 cup Milk Chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Cook, stirring gently in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water [the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl until the chocolate is melted. Spread the ganache in your prepared shell.

  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste [or Vanilla Extract]
  • 3-4 Pears, peeled and halved
Choose pears that are firm, but not hard for this recipe. When I eat pears plain I like them to be super soft. Those aren't the ones for this. Bring your water, sugar and vanilla to a boil. If you're using extract, don't add it until you add the pears. Once your liquid comes to a boil, remove from heat and add in your pears, cover and let cool for about 30 minutes or so. Thinly slice the pears and arrange on top of the ganache. 

Serve cool. 

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