CHOCOLATE FRANGIPANE TART
8 tbsp (120 ml) unsalted butter, divided
8 oz (250 g) chocolate biscuit crumbs
1 tbsp + ⅓ cup (15 ml + 75 ml) granulated sugar, divided
4 oz (125 g) dark chocolate
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
2 large eggs
½ cup (125 ml) hazelnut flour
3 tbsp (45 ml) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) white wine
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped out
2 Bosc pears
- In a microwave-safe bowl, place 5 tbsp (75 ml) butter and microwave until melted, about 1 minute.
- In a medium bowl, stir together chocolate biscuit crumbs, 1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar and melted butter until well combined. Press into a 4 x 14-in (10 x 35 cm) fluted rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 325 F (170 C).
- In a small heatproof bowl, place dark chocolate and remaining butter. In a small saucepan, heat cream until just simmering. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture and set aside for 2 minutes. With a spatula, stir mixture together until smooth. Stir in eggs and hazelnut flour. Fold in remaining ⅓ cup (75 ml) sugar and flour until thoroughly combined. Transfer enough of the chocolate filling mixture to come three quarters up sides of prepared tart crust.
- Cut Poached Pears halves crosswise into ¼-in (0.5 cm) slices, keeping pieces together as a whole. Arrange 4 Poached Pear halves on top of tart, fanning slices slightly. Top up crust with any remaining filling, spooning it around pears, if desired.
- Place tart on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in oven until filling is set and slightly puffed, about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack.
- To serve, slice tart crosswise. Serve with unsweetened, lightly whipped cream, if desired. Tart may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- To make POACHED PEARS: In a small saucepan, stir together water, wine, sugar and vanilla bean. Warm mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Bring mixture to a light simmer.
- While syrup is coming to a simmer, peel pears, cut in half and, with a melon baller, remove core, working from bottom and carving into centre of pear.
- Place pears in simmering sugar syrup. To keep pears submerged, place a piece of parchment paper over them, so that it touches poaching liquid. The amount of time needed for pears to poach will depend on ripeness. To check pears for doneness, after 8 to 10 minutes, lift them gently from syrup with a slotted spoon and poke flesh with a small knife. Pear is done when knife meets little resistance. If not ready, return pears to syrup and check every 3 to 5 minutes. When cooked to desired doneness, transfer pears to a bowl and let cool completely to room temperature before using. Pears may be refrigerated in an airtight container along with their poaching liquid for up to 1 week. Makes 2 poached pears