I like Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog, Chocolate & Zucchini. I discovered it when I was looking for an oil-based tart crust. Clotilde has a couple of books, too, and I’ve been reading Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris; if I ever get to Paris again, this will be a valuable reference. In the meantime, though, it includes a killer recipe for a chocolate pear tart, and the recipe is not on her blog, so far as I can tell.
Clotilde’s recipe calls for a pâte brisée, but I used a pâte sablée because I had the dough in the freezer, and I used a smaller tart pan because the dough would only stretch that far. So to make Clotilde’s tart the way she did, use a 28- to 30-cm (11 to 12 inches) tart shell and cut the pears into 6 pieces (for a total of 12 pieces). This will give you 12 servings (unless my nephew Ed is sharing it). I used a 23-cm (9 inches) tart pan and cut the pears into 4 pieces (for a total of 8).
Clotilde’s Chocolate Pear Tart
(adapted from Tarte-Gâteau Poire Chocolat)
One recipe of pâte brisée or other tart dough of your choice
For the chocolate filling:
3 T (¾ oz) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
7 T (3½ oz) butter, cut into small pieces
4½ oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used Green & Black 72% bittersweet)
½ cup (2 oz) granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg white (Clotilde used a yolk in her crust; I suspect you could use 2 eggs if you wanted)
For the poached pears:
2 Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, or other pears that will hold their shape after poaching (about 1 lb)
2 T granulated white sugar
3 T dark rum (I used Myers’s)
1 cup water
Blind bake the tart shell; I baked mine at 375℉ for 20 minutes, removed the weights, and gave it another 5 minutes. While that’s going on, poach the pears and make the chocolate filling.
To poach the pears, peel the pears, cut out the stem and blossom, and scoop out the core. Cut the pears into 4 or 6 pieces each. Combine the water, sugar, and rum in a small to medium saucepan and bring the syrup to a simmer. Immerse the pears in the syrup and poach them for 5 minutes or so, until they’re tender but still firm. Drain the pears in a colander.
To make the chocolate filling, melt the chocolate and butter. I mixed the pieces in a microwave-safe bowl and heated them on medium for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula between times, and it all melted safely after a total of 2 minutes. You can also melt them on the stove over simmering water. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl, stir in the melted butter and chocolate, then stir in the flour mixture.
To assemble the tart, turn the chocolate mixture into the tart shell, and smooth it as well as you can.
Arrange the pears over the filling.
Bake the tart at 350℉ for 20 minutes.
The custard should be a little jiggly in the middle; it will continue cooking after your remove it from the oven.
When it’s cool enough to handle, remove it from the tart pan and put it on a serving dish. The 23-cm size yields eight servings (or two, if Ed is around). It almost yielded four servings, because Dr. Science thought he’d like a large slice. I asked him to take an eighth and come back for seconds, so I could get a photo. About halfway through that slice, he decided he’d come back for seconds in a few hours. It’s very rich.
This tart pan is a little deeper than my 30-cm one, and the filling was still somewhat creamy, so possibly I should’ve given it a few more minutes, or possibly it needed to cool a little longer. Of course, possibly this is how it’s supposed to be. Clotilde describes the filling as fudgy and cake-y. I figured it would be like the filling in those plum (or pluot) tarts I was making this summer, but those weren’t really creamy when they were baked. I do like this texture, though. And boy, is this tart delicious.
Clotilde Dusoulier, Tarte-Gâteau Poire Chocolat, in Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris. New York: Broadway Books, 2008, p. 192.