This is another recipe from Everyday Food–I pulled it from the magazine almost 3 years ago, and it’s remained one of my favorite desserts. It’s also wheat-free! (Since I know this is important to some of you!) I hadn’t remembered that about it, but sure enough, it is. Also, I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday and noticed they sell Almond Meal, so you don’t have to grind your own almonds (and it wasn’t that expensive–like $4 for over a pound, I believe). Anyway, this is a great Valentines-y dessert in my opinion. And I would recommend Bartlett pears–I’ve tried Anjou and Bosc, and think the Bartlett’s are the best. One last note: if you don’t have apple jelly, don’t worry too much; it mostly just creates a beautiful finish, but doesn’t do much for the flavor. I have to admit, though, using the jelly is one baking trick I’ve learned that makes me feel just a little more accomplished as a baker . . .
Chocolate Pear Tart
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 cup whole blanched almonds
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 3 firm, ripe Bartlett pears
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons apple jelly
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with butter; set aside.
- In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar; process until very finely ground. Add butter, eggs, cocoa, vanilla, salt, and almond extract, if using; process until combined. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.
- Peel, halve, and core pears; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, rubbing them with lemon as you work (to prevent discoloration). Arrange slices on chocolate mixture, slightly overlapping, without pressing in.
- Place pan on a baking sheet; bake until top is puffed and a toothpick inserted in center of chocolate mixture comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
- Briefly heat jelly in the microwave or on the stove until liquefied. Gently brush pears with jelly; let set, at least 20 minutes. Remove tart from pan, and serve.