chocolate pear and hazelnut tart

Have you noticed the way some flavour combinations just work? When I spied this chocolate, hazelnut and pear confection on Mowie Kay's blog I knew I had to make it. As it's winter here in Sydney, pears are in abundance.

I bought a few Corella pears from my local fruit shop, then tried to track down the original recipe using hazelnuts. I'm sure I could have emailed Mowie and asked him for the recipe but instead I tracked down a copy of the book, Popina's Book of Baking, on the internet and ordered it. It arrived promptly and before I knew it, I was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of chocolate dough.

I've had problems in the past with chocolate pastry. It tends to be soft and crumble easily but this one turned out beautifully.

As Mowie said, it's not a tart that you can whip up at a moment's notice. There are many, many steps but you just take it slowly and before you know it, you'll be taking your tart out of the oven.

I made the tart in my favaourite oblong pan.

With a bit of filling left over and plenty of pastry, I made a little tart, just for the cook.

I took the large tart into work and it disappeared in a flash because it's very, very good. What could be better then crisp pastry, moist chocolatey filling and a yummy glazed pear topping with just a hint of toasted hazelnuts?

The Popina Book of Baking is a lovely book filled with tempting cookies and pastry recipes. I'm sure you'll be seeing many more goodies from the book sometime in the future. Here's the recipe for you.

Chocolate Pear and Hazelnut Tart makes 8-12 slices
printable recipe
1 Chocolate Shortcrust recipe
1 Sponge Dough recipe
1 large pear, peeled, halved and cored (I used 3 corella pears)
20 g shelled hazelnuts (blanched if you like), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons apricot jam, optional
A 23 cm loose bottom fluted tart tin, greased

Chocolate Shortcrust recipe
225g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
85g golden caster sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 170˚C (325˚F).

Place the flour, cocoa, butter and sugar in a mixer and blitz until you get crumbs. Add the egg and mix again. (I needed to add a tablespoon of cold water at this stage).Take the dough out of the mixer and bring together into a ball.
Put the dough on a lightly floured surface then roll with a rolling pin until 3-4mm thick. Line the tart tin with the chocolate shortcrust pastry and trim the excess dough neatly around the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Sponge Dough recipe
45g unsalted butter, at room temperature
90g golden caster sugar
1 egg
1½ tsp baking powder
90g plain flour

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric whisk to combine. Mix in the egg and baking powder with the whisk, then gently fold in the flour by hand until evenly combined.

Chocolate and Hazelnut cream
90g dark chocolate, finely chopped
90g milk chocolate, finely chopped
180ml single cream
40 g shelled hazelnuts, roughly chopped and lightly roasted in a dry frying pan

To make the chocolate and hazelnut cream, put the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil over low heat, stirring frequently. Pour into the mixing bowl and whisk until you get a smooth cream, then stir in the hazelnuts. Gently fold the sponge dough into the chocolate mixture and mix well. Remove the tart shell from the fridge and pour in the chocolate and hazelnut cream.

Cut the pear into about 12 slim wedges and arrange in a circle on the top of the tart filling. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. To check if it’s ready, insert a skewer into the centre of the tart – if it comes out clean you can take it out of the oven, if not, leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. 
Put the apricot jam, if using, in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted and runny. Brush the jam roughly over the tart (avoiding the hazelnuts) with a pastry brush and leave for a few minutes before serving.

I'm back home in Sydney after a 3 day break in Brisbane and it's just pelting out there. Despite that, I've had a lovely relaxing Long Weekend and I'm in no hurry to return to work tomorrow.

See you all again on Wednesday,


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