chocolate pear and hazelnut tarts

As expected, I ran out of time to bake and photograph something new for you this week. I shot this story last year for my Delicious Bites column for decor8 but in the end decided to use another recipe. I thought the recipe was too good to sit in my archives, so I'm sharing my chocolate pear and hazelnut tart recipe with you today.

As it's now autumn in Sydney the apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries have disappeared from the fruit shop and have been replaced by apples, pears, oranges and quince, so this recipe is timely. I've not made this with plums but I think that combination would be fantastic.

I used my favourite Isidora Popovic chocolate pastry recipe and the filling is my own creation, a riff on the classic almond frangipane.  

I used my favourite little corella pears to make individual tarts. If you wanted to make a 23cm tart, the pastry makes sufficient to line a 23 cm tart tin. You'll need to make 3 times the quantity of the filling to fill the tart. 

Here's the recipe for you.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Tarts - makes 5 x 8cm tarts

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

50 gm unsalted butter, softened
50 gm caster sugar
50 gm hazelnut or almond meal
2 tsp plain flour, sifted
3 tsp cocoa, sifted
30 g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 tsp rum or orange juice

3 corella pears, peeled and halved 
a few roughly chopped hazelnuts
apricot jam, warmed and sieved

You’ll only need half the pastry quantity for this recipe. This keeps well, so you can freeze the remaining pastry. 

Place the flour, cocoa, butter and sugar in a food processor and mix until you get crumbs. Add the egg and mix again. Take the dough out of the mixer and bring together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap or kitchen paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

As this is a sticky dough, I rolled the dough out on lightly floured greaseproof paper until it was 3-4mm thick. Line the tart shells with the chocolate shortcrust pastry and trim the excess dough neatly around the edges. Refrigerate the tart shells for an hour. 

In a small bowl or in a food processor, combine all the filling ingredients and mix until a soft mixture is formed. Place in the fridge until required.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Remove the tart shells from the fridge and line with baking paper. Fill the shells with baking beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes before carefully removing the lining paper and the baking beans. Return the partly cooked shells to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes until the shells are dry and lightly coloured. Allow the tartlet shells to cool a little before filling.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into the pre baked tart shell. Don’t overfill the tarts ~ is fine. Gently place the halved pears onto the filled tart, cut side facing up. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top of the tart, avoiding the pears.

Bake the tarts on the middle shelf for 30 minutes at 190°C or until the filling has puffed and tests a bit squidgy, like a brownie.

Remove the tart from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, gently remove the tart from the tin. If desired you can glaze the top of the tarts with 1-2 tablespoons of warmed apricot jam.

This time next week I'll have just arrived in Amsterdam and I'll be struggling with jetlag. I'm aiming to post while on the road but don't know what I'll be posting or when, so see you all again sometime next week.

Bye for now,


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