Tart it up! by Eric Lanlard is my favourite cookbook. At first I bought it as a gift for my friend and had hard time letting it go. After all the struggle I gave my friend some other book and kept this one for myself. I flick through it every few days, read couple of recipes, have my favourites, have my eye on the challenging ones and make something at least once a month.
The pear and hazelnut tart was waiting for the pear season to start and now I couldn’t say no to it. But hey, why not make it even better than it already sounds? I had this strong feeling that making pastry with lots of cocoa will make the trick. And you know what? It was spectacular! Bitter-sweet, crunchy pastry case, filled with sweet nutty cream and topped with the softest, the most beautiful vanilla poached pears. Divine.
So here it is, my take on pear and hazelnut tart:
Ingredients: (for one standard-size round tart)
- 1 blind-baked sweet shortcrust pastry case (I used a chocolate one, from this recipe)
For the poached pears:
100g golden caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
For the hazelnut cream:
3 tsp vanilla sugar
65g golden caster sugar
100g roasted ground hazelnuts (roast for about 10 minutes in 160C, until aromatic)
- 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate, chopped
- 30g roasted hazelnuts (roast for about 10 minutes in 160C, until aromatic), roughly chopped
- Pears: you need to start the day before. Peel them, cut in half and remove the cores. In a large saucepan: place the water, sugar and vanilla pod (splitted lenghtways). Bring to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves and place the pears in the sweet syrup. Cover and cook on a small heat for 10 minutes (test with a knife, it should easily go into the flesh). Remove from heat, leave to cool and place in fridge. It’s good to have it there overnight so the flavours can nicely infuse.
- Cream: Pour the milk into a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Put the cornflour into a large bowl, add the eggs, sugars and mix well. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture and stir well. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the hazelnuts to the cream, stir well and leave to cool.
- Spread the cooled cream into the baked and cooled pastry case.
- Drain the poached pears and arrange them on top of the cream layer. Sprinkle with the extra hazelnuts.
- Put chocolate pieces in a bowl and microwave on high for about 1 minute 40 seconds. Until melted. Using a spoon make a chocolate pattern on top of the tart.
- Put in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.