Pear and Chocolate Tart

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Appears in

Real Chocolate: Over 50 Inspiring Recipes for Chocolate Indulgence

Real Chocolate

By Chantal Coady

Published 2003

  • About

This is an old favourite in our house. It has been through many incarnations and can be adapted to suit your mood. Sometimes I cook it for much longer than indicated below (it’s better firmer if it’s to be served warm), and sometimes I put a layer of Seville orange marmalade on the pastry base before adding the pears. This version uses a variation on the ganache theme, substituting custard for cream in the ganache. The whites of the eggs are whipped and added at the end to give an even airier effect. The whole thing is much lighter than the cream-based ganache version. If you’re not worried about lightly cooked eggs, you can even use this mixture uncooked. The pastry can be made the day before, or a larger quantity can be prepared well in advance and frozen.


For the Chocolate Pastry

  • 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 130 g very fine flour, ideally 00 (Italian doppio zero), plus more for dusting the tin
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g icing sugar, plus more for dusting the tart
  • 85 g unsalted butter, roughly cubed, plus more for greasing the tin
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Filling

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 30 g sugar
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300 g real dark chocolate, finely chopped in food processor until the consistency of breadcrumbs and just beginning to melt
  • 3 large or 4 small ripe but firm pears, preferably Williams


To make the pastry, first sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt and icing sugar together. Place in a food processor with the butter, and using the metal blade, mix until fine crumbs form. Add the egg yolk and pulse gently until you have a lump of pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour or so.

When the pastry is firm, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and generously butter and flour the base and sides of a fairly deep, round loose-bottomed pie tin (4 × 25 cm). Roll the pastry out on the base and then place the base in the tin. Don’t worry if the pastry breaks; it is very short and can easily be repaired. Roll out the trimmings of the pastry and use to line the sides, pressing the pastry into the corners. The top edge of the pastry can be very thin and left with quite a rough finish; it will have an attractive lacy look when baked. Prick all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Put to one side to cool.

To make the filling, first prepare a custard: beat the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. In a separate pan, bring the milk with the vanilla pod to the boil, then whisk the boiling milk into the egg mixture with a balloon whisk. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. If the mixture is not hot enough to thicken, return it briefly to a low heat, but be very careful or you’ll end up with scrambled egg! When you have a light custard (it doesn’t need to be too thick), pour it little by little on to the chocolate to make the ganache, as described.

Peel the pears, cut them in half and scoop out the core and stem. Arrange the pear halves on the cooked pastry base.

Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl (you will have 2 or 3 depending on when you made the pastry – either is fine) until forming soft peaks. Beat one-quarter into the custard, then fold the remainder in gently. Pour the mixture over the pears.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until risen and set to your taste. You can decide whether you want a soft filling or a firmer one, depending on how long you bake it (soft is better when cold and a firmer set better for serving hot).

Decorate with cape gooseberries and dust with icing sugar. Serve hot or cold, with whipping cream, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice-cream.

To Decorate and Serve

  • cape gooseberries
  • whipping cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice-cream

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