Chocolate-Almond Pear Tart
Who needs one last blowout, showstopping dessert for the year?
We all do.
I mean, it has been that kind of year, right?
But deep, dark chocolate combined with fresh, juicy, sweet pears will set just about anything right.
With pear slices fanned out just so over the top, a rim of sliced almonds, and a light dusting of powdered sugar, it’s a beaut, isn’t it?
The foundation is a cocoa powder-infused tart shell, which gets slathered with frangipane that’s fortified with more cocoa powder plus melted bittersweet chocolate.
I used red Anjou pears, but you could use any variety that’s ripe but will hold its shape when baked.
This tart tastes like a chocolate-almond candy bar in every bite. The crust is buttery and snappy like a sable or shortbread cookie. The frangipane, made with almond flour, bakes up like a gooey brownie. The filling is firmer at the edges and looser and creamier at the center, with a slightly gritty texture from the ground almonds.
The juicy, tender pears add a burst of sweet fall fruitiness, adding brightness to counter the richness of the chocolate with its bitter edge.
Cheers to chocolate! And to 2022 being sweeter!
Chocolate-Almond Pear Tart
(Makes one 9-inch tart)
For tart shell:
1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1⅓ cups (167 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
For filling and assembly:
1 cup (121 g) almond flour or meal
3 tablespoons (23 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (12 g) Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
2 firm but ripe pears (such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Packham), thinly sliced
¼cup sliced almonds
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
To make tart shell: Whisk cocoa powder, salt, and 1⅓ cups flour in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Reduce speed to low; with motor running, add dry ingredients. Mix just until a soft dough forms. Using a rubber spatula, fold in any remaining dry streaks of flour.
Transfer dough to a surface; gather into a ball. Using the heel of your hands, smear dough straight out across surface by a full arm’s length, then using a bench scraper, gather dough back up into a ball. Smear and regather dough 2 more times; flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
If dough is very firm, let sit at room temperature 10–15 minutes to soften slightly. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a ¼”-thick round, dusting with flour as needed. Carefully transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, and gently press into bottom, corner, and sides of pan, letting excess hang over edges. Run rolling pin over top of pan to shear off excess dough. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Chill in freezer 1–12 hours.
Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Bake tart shell until firm and dry to the touch and starting to pull away from edges of pan, 14–18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Do ahead: Dough can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.
To fill and assemble: Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Whisk almond flour, all-purpose flour, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment on medium-low speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes; scrape down bowl. With motor running, add eggs one at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next one. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and beat to combine. Add chocolate, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt and beat until smooth.
Spread frangipane evenly across bottom of tart shell. Top with pear slices to cover, fanning out to make an attractive pattern (you might have some left over—snack away!). Scatter almonds around edges of tart and bake until pears are tender and frangipane barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken, 40–45 minutes. Transfer tart to wire rack; let cool.
Just before serving, dust edges of tart with powdered sugar.
Do ahead: Tart can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
From Pastry Chef Kristen Hall of Bandit Patisserie, as printed in Bon Appetit, Sept. 14, 2021
More Pear Baking Recipes to Enjoy: Pear Cream Cheese Bars with Macadamia Nut Crust
And: Rosemary-Pear Pie