Monday, December 5, 2022

Poached pear chocolate tart

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

A poached pear tart may seem like something out of your realm of baking abilities, but once I break down the steps I promise it will seem manageable. It’s a really elegant dessert to serve, and the colors make it great for the holiday season.

First, let's discuss the tart shell. It is similar to the American short dough, and I think it tastes like a shortbread cookie when it is baked. The shell dough is the first thing you should make because you need to allow the dough to chill for a minimum of 2 hours before working with it. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax so it's less likely to break when you're rolling it out and shrink when you're baking it.

PΓ’te sucrΓ©e is traditionally made using the creaming method. Usually with the creaming method, you want the butter to look “light and fluffy” before proceeding. However, that isn’t what we want here. That’s because when you beat the butter and sugar together, you incorporating air, and we don't want that. So just beat the butter and sugar until well combined, but not any longer. I like to use Challenge European Style Butter. It has a higher butterfat than regular butters (83% versus 80% for standard butters), and the lower moisture content yields a flakier crust.

If you're not in the mood to make tart dough, just use a good quality store-bought pie dough. I've used the Trader Joe's brand pie dough several times, and it works just fine.

The next step is to poach the pears in wine. Poached pears mean we simmer the pears until they're tender and flavored with the poaching liquid. In this case, the poach liquid is red wine and white wine, both with warm winter spices like a cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, sugar and orange peel. You want to use Bosc pears because they retain their shape well while baking.

You can do this step several days in advance. Just store the pears in the poaching liquid in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them.

I poached half the pears in white wine and half the pears in red wine because I wanted it to look a certain way for the holidays, but you could go with all red wine or all white wine.

Don't get rid of the poaching liquid once you're done. Cook the wine over the stove until it reduces by at least half and becomes syrupy. You can use the syrup over desserts or in cocktails.

When deciding on what wine to use, you certainly don't have to break the bank with your purchase. But you want a wine that is decent enough to sip by itself.

Then it's time to make the frangipane. Frangipane is an almond custard that will become puffy when it bakes and envelop the fruit. I made a chocolate frangipane because I thought it would be really decadent with the wine-poached fruit. You can either start with whole almonds, almond meal, or almond flour. Whole almonds become almond meal when you blend them in a food processor. Almond flour is almost always interchangeable with almond meal. Almond flour is just blanched, peeled almonds ground into a fine powder. If you don't use whole almonds, frangipane is as easy as stirring a few ingredients together.

When it comes to assembly, you'll want to parbake the tart dough without the filling first. This ensures the crust cooks all the way through, and it prevents a soggy bottom. You want to parbake the dough to the point at which it starts to brown very slightly and no longer looks like raw dough.

You can choose whatever design you want for the pears. I like the circular pattern because it looks pretty even with pear slices of different sizes, and it's pretty much foolproof.

For an added festive touch and some texture, I think it looks so pretty with crushed pistachios on top.

Poached pear chocolate tart

Yield: One 9-inch tart


For sweet tart dough

  • 200 grams all-purpose flour
  • 80 grams powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3.5 ounces (7 Tablespoons) Challenge European unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 30 grams almond meal

For the poached pears

  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle red wine
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 4 strips orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 6 bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths

For the chocolate frangipane

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 120 grams (1 1/4 cup) almond meal
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) Nutella or similar chocolate spread
  • 50 grams (1/2 stick) Challenge unsalted butter, melted


For the sweet tart dough

  1. Sift flour, powered sugar, salt and baking powder, and add to mixing bowl with paddle attachment.  
  2. Add butter and mix on medium speed until mealy.  
  3. Add egg and once dough begins to come together, add almond meal and mix until dough comes together.  
  4. Cover dough and chill in refrigerator for minimum of 2 hours and up to 2 days.

For the poached pears

  1. Pour red wine into one medium saucepan and white wine into another medium saucepan.
  2. Add 100 grams granulated sugar, 2 strips orange peel, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon cloves, and 1 star anise pod to the saucepan with the red wine. Add remaining orange peel, cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise pod to the saucepan with the white wine.
  3. Bring both saucepans to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Add half the pear slices to the red wine and half the pear slices to the white wine.
  5. Simmer pear slices. Turn off heat and allow pears to soak in poaching liquid until cool.

For the chocolate frangipane

  1. Beat eggs and egg yolk. 
  2. Mix in almond meal, chocolate spread, and butter. Set aside.

For assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thick and place in tart pan. Press down into corners.
  3. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and remove pie weights. 
  5. Prick bottom and sides of pie dough with fork. 
  6. Bake another 10 minutes and remove from oven. Let tart shell cool.
  7. Spread frangipane evenly in tart.
  8. Arrange pears onto filling in circular pattern.
  9. Bake 45 minutes or until frangipane puffs up and envelops pears. Monitor tart—if edges brown too much, cover with aluminum foil.
  10. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
  11. Carefully remove tart from pan. Serve with crushed pistachios and creme fraiche if desired.


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