Pear and Chocolate Frangipane

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/425F/Gas 6.
  2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water
  3. Put the butter, ground almonds, sugar, flour and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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