Years ago I found a recipe for Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Tart. My favourite pudding revamped with an injection of dark chocolate?? I couldn’t resist. The delightful Valentine Warner was the author of this heavenly concoction. I made it immediately and it was a huge success. As declious as I’d hoped, making second portions mandatory.
Unfortunately it also took me hours to make so it was relegated to my ever growing recipe pile only to be forgotten.
Until a couple of weeks ago.
We were having friends for dinner and I know one of them loves a frangipane tart even more than I do. Memories of the perfect quince version we had at the Blue Print Cafe many years ago still linger. So out came the recipe to be scrutinised.
I was cooking it after work on a Friday so a few time-saving changes had to be made…
First, the pastry. Valentine suggests you make your own pastry. Whilst I sometimes find the enthusiasm to do so at the weekend, during the week bought pastry is definitely the only way to go. Added to which, I usually manage to make a complete mess of the blind baking stage, resulting in the pastry shrinking down the sides of the tin. I would much rather have than happen to the bought version rather than something I’d spent time making!
Second, the pears. He instructs you to peel and core pears and soak them in lemon juice. Whilst I did endeavour to stick to his instructions, the only pears I could find the day before were so hard they couple probably be used as a weapon! So I used a tin of pear halves instead, which not only surprisingly tasted just as good as the fresh version, but also speeded things up a little.
The only other change I made was to halve the amount of salt. As you might have noticed by now, I have a bit of an salt aversion!
I served the tart slightly warm, dark chocolate oozing from the slices, with a good dollop of double cream. Crunchy on top and soft and delectable in the middle, this is a seriously good way to end a meal.
Pear & Chocolate Frangipane Tart
Adapted from Valentine Warner’s recipe in Olive Magazine in 2009
375g ready made sweet shortcrust pastry
1 can pear halves in juice (about 400g – you will have a couple left over), halved
100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
175g butter at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
125g ground almonds
75g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
A handful of flaked almonds
1. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use it to line a deep, 25cm fluted flan/tart tin. Don’t worry if it cracks and breaks, just patch it up so there are no holes in it. Place on a baking tray and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°c/180°c fan. Put some baking parchment on top of the pastry and fill with baking beans/dried beans. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking parchment and beans and then cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the base is dry. Set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, reduce your oven temperature to 160°c/140°c fan and make your frangipane.
4. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs and vanilla essence and beat together thoroughly.
5. Pour the frangipane into the pastry case and gently spread around, making sure you get it into the corners and the top is nice and flat.
6. Arrange your pear quarters around the frangipane in a circle, narrow ends to the middle, pressing gently into the frangipane. Then push your pieces of chocolate around them to ensure everyone gets a chocolately hit.
7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After this time, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top and cook for a further 35-40 minutes, until the middle is set and top golden brown.
8. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing the tin. Best served warm with a good dollop of cream.