The history of this tart in my cookbook began far long before I started baking. I just met my husband and we were celebrating our first New Year together. And we were determined to surprise each other. So we denied Russian traditional potato salad and looked deep into other countries recipes. I found a site with a list of traditional Christmas and New Year recipes for different countries. It became our family tradition: each New Year we choose a different country and different cuisine to try. We already had Italian raviolli with langustins, British pudding and chestnut stuffed turckey, Finnish kissel… But that year, the first one we chose French cuisine with Tartiflette, cider roasted pork, some very strange salad and this tart for desert.
I won’t lie to you saying that it became my favourite at once. Nope, it didn’t. Actually I was swearing like a sailor while making it, ‘coz nothing seemed to go right. But the result was still delicious.
So when I heard of the casting for an Instagram culinary contest #cheffs_battle I decided to make this tart. Well it turned out not to be so hard and unpleasant to make it if you read the instructions carefully. And the result is still the same: a beautiful tart with very elegant French texture combination: dry and crumbly crust with juicy pears, dense and rich chocolate with light neutral cream. This tart is about harmony of the contrasts.
100 g cold butter cubed
175 g plain flour1 egg yolk
Sift the flour onto a clean working surface to form a hump. Make a well in the centre, add yolk and butter. Knead quickly. If the yolk was small you might need to add 1-2 tbsp of water to make pastry smooth. Gather pastry into a ball. wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15-25 minutes.
Partly uncover the pastry, leaving the film from 1 side. Roll through the film to form a circle shape 1,5 cm thick. Use the film to carefully transport the pastry to the tart tin. Using finger tips push the pastry from centre to edges to fill the tin. Refrigerate for 15 more minutes.
Heat the oven to 190°С and – absolutely necessary – the baking sheet.
For the fiiling:
100 g dark chocolate chopped
150 ml double cream1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 pears (not to ripe) peeled, halved and seeded
Whisk together cream, egg, yolk and vanilla extract. Cut the pear halves widthwise to thin slices but do not cut through leave about 3-5 mm in the bottom uncut, so the pear saves it’s shape.
Add chocolate to the tin with pastry. Level it, so the bottom is covered evenly. Position the pears to make a flower (each half is a petal) – smaller side to the centre. Pour the cream mixture into the centre, be careful not to pour over pears – leave them uncovered.
Bake in preheated oven on the preheated tray about 25 minutes, then move the cake on the higher shelf of the oven to make a beautiful golden crust. Bake 3-5 more minutes. Chill before serving.