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Recipe

Pear and chocolate tart

This decadent, dreamy tart is such a joy to share with friends and family on a special occasion. With a deliciously nutty cashew pastry, silky smooth chocolate filling and poached pears topping, it looks just as incredible as it tastes!

By Emma Boyd
  • 1 hr preparation plus chilling and cooling time
  • Serves 6
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Ingredients

Cashew pastry
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 125 g flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 100 g butter, cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp yoghurt
Pear and chocolate topping
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cups water
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 small pears, peeled, stalks left on
  • 150 g dark chocolate (we used Green & Black's 70% cocoa solids)
  • 50 g crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • Rapadura sugar, for serving (available from organic shops) – or use raw or brown sugar

Method

  • 1
    In a spice grinder or food processor, grind cashews to a coarse 'flour'. Place in a food processor (if not in one already) and add the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine.
  • 2
    Add butter and process until well incorporated. Add yoghurt, 1 Tbsp at a time. When the mixture starts to fall from the sides of the processor into the middle, the pastry is moist enough. If still unsure, squeeze a small amount in your hand – if it sticks together, it is ready.
  • 3
    Turn pastry out onto a floured bench and bring together into a ball. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • 4
    Preheat the oven to 180°C and generously grease a loose-bottomed 35cm x 12cm rectangular tart tin.
  • 5
    On a floured bench, roll the pastry out to about 3mm thick, in a shape to fit your tin. Line the tin with pastry and trim. Lightly score the base a few times with a sharp knife then bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
  • 6
    For the topping, peel 2 thick strips of zest from the lemon and place in a saucepan along with the water, sugar and vanilla. Bring to the boil, then add the pears and cook for 15 minutes or until you can easily insert a knife into the flesh (larger pears will take longer to cook). Be careful not to overcook them or they will become mushy. Remove from the water and allow to cool (see tip).
  • 7
    Melt chocolate then whisk into crème fraîche and spread over the base of the tart.
  • 8
    Halve and core pears then thinly slice lengthways, stopping about 1.5cm short of the stalk so that the slices can be fanned out while still holding together. Fan out and place on tart. Sprinkle with sugar before serving.

Notes

Pastry is so forgiving. If it tears as you are lining the tin, just patch it up – you'll never even know once the dessert has been assembled. Don't throw away the poaching syrup. It has many uses – for instance, pour some into porridge or add a little to soda water with a squeeze of lime for a refreshing drink.

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