4 small pears, peeled, quartered, core removed
750 ml sweet white wine
125 ml verjuice
250 ml water
80 g caster sugar
50 g honey
2 star anise, whole
1 cinnamon quill
4 bay leaves
75 g butter, softened
75 g caster sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
130 g almond meal
20 g cocoa, sifted
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Short crust pastry
225 g plain flour
125 g butter, diced, chilled
125 g icing sugar
Pinch of salt flakes
1 egg, cold
3 tsp vanilla sugar
50 g dark chocolate, melted
1. Place all ingredients except pears into a deep, unperforated steam container. Steam at 100°C for 5 minutes.
2. Stir the poaching liquor well. Place pears into the tray with liquor and steam at 100°C for 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the steam oven and allow to cool before use. Store in refrigerator until required.
Short crust pastry
1. Place flour, butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and process to a fine crumb.
2. Add the egg and pulse until the pastry has combined into several large lumps.
3. Tip pastry onto cling wrap and shape into a flat disk. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Add the almond meal, cocoa and nutmeg to the creamed mixture and stir gently until well combined.
1. Pre-heat oven on Intensive Bake at 165°C with a baking tray on shelf position 1.
2. Lightly grease a 3 cm deep, 24 cm loose bottom tart tin. Roll pastry out between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line the tin. Dock the base of the pastry with a fork.
3. Spread the frangipane onto the pastry, top with the pear quarters and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
4. Place onto the baking tray and bake for 45 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool.
1. Remove tart from tin, drizzle with melted chocolate and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
HINTS AND TIPS
• The term ‘dock’ means to make holes in a pastry base, for example with the prongs of a fork.
• Ready-made Carême pastry is a nice alternative if you prefer not to make your own pastry.