- 100g plain dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 150g softened butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- 50g self-raising flour
- 3 free-range eggs
- 4 firm conference pears (about 500g)
- 15g flaked almonds
- 1 tsp icing sugar, to sift
- 500g chilled ready-made puff pastry block
- plain flour, for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 200C/425F/Gas 6.
- Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water
- Put the butter, ground almonds, sugar, flour and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy.
- For the pastry, roll out on a lightly floured surface until around 5cm/2in larger than a 26cm/10½ fluted flan tin and 3mm thick. Lift carefully over the rolling pin and drop gently into the tin, pressing firmly into the corners and sides. Prick the base lightly with a fork. Trim the edges with a sharp, horizontally held knife.
- Spoon all the almond mixture into the tart,and spread evenly. Drop spoonfuls of the melted chocolate on top and draw the tip of a knife through the mixture to lightly marble.
- Peel the pears and cut into quarters. Remove the cores and discard.. Arrange the pears around the tart, cut-side down, with the pointy ends towards the middle, pressing gently into the almond batter. Bake on the baking tray in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Pull the oven shelf holding the tart out a little way and very carefully scatter over the flaked almonds. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Return the tart to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes, or until nicely risen. The filling should also feel firm to the touch. If the tart is beginning to over-brown towards the end of the cooking time, loosely cover with a piece of foil.
- Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes and then carefully transfer to a board or serving platter. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar and serve warm or cold in wedges.
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