An easy press-in chocolate crust to showcase the gentle pear flavors in a tart that invites hazelnuts to add one last dimension to the pear custard.
A Classic Tart For All Seasons
Autumn sings of warm flavors and yet while pears come into season in Autumn, their flavor is oh so gentle.
How do we make a delicate pear the star of a tart without masking its beautiful flavor?
Easy, we add a bit of cacao to the crust to surround the pears with a warm color, make a custard out of the pears, using hazelnut to add structure, and top it with slices of fresh pears, the star of the tart.
Chocolate Crusted Tarts Are Simple Yet Elegant
It’s funny how we think of chocolate as a strong flavor, when in fact, cooking with cacao powder, even coffee powder, the flavors are never strong enough.
When making my favorite Chocolate and Coffee Checkered cookies, I really had to work at bringing both flavors to the forefront.
So when making a pear tart, I knew rather than a tart crust that had no color (a buttery pie crust is beige), I added cacao to the crust for both color and just a hint of flavor.
I wanted the pears to be featured in both the topping and the custard filling; a chocolate crust was the perfect choice to showcase that.
Why Hazelnuts In My Pear Tart?
Often when looking for a pear tart recipe, a pear frangipane tart is the recipe that appears most often, which is basically an almond cream filling.
Because pears are so delicate in flavor, almonds are also the most delicate in flavor of all the nuts that could be used, and I wanted a pear tart with more distinct taste; deeper, warmer.
Hazelnuts, especially when lightly toasted before crushed into a flour, produce a rich, deep and toasty flavor.
Hazelnut Pear Custard Filling
Since a frangipane is mostly a puree of almonds, butter eggs and lots of sugar, I used its concept to create a filling using hazelnuts.
However, I wanted pears to be the star of that filling and not simply lots of sugar.
And so, by simmering a puree of pears, lightly scented with sugar, much like my Applesauce Custard Tart, and fold in crushed toasted hazelnuts, it added body to the pear puree with just one egg and a yolk, to hold it firmly together.
About Pears In Tarts
Pears are one of those delicately flavored fruits that make their best appearance during pear season in Autumn.
A simple dessert is easily made with pears, and for me fruit tarts, especially this easy tart recipe, is the best way to showcase the unique shape and flavor of pears.
Using the sweet choice of Bartlett pears, along with a little zing of lemon juice, will keep the overall taste of the pie from being too sweet, but Bartletts are not very shapely.
Most important aspect in preparing this tart recipe is to work with ripe pears that have been left out to be room temperature, because the juices of these sweet pears becomes more prevalent this way.
Why Bosc Pears For A Tart?
While there are several types of pears that could be used with this impressive dessert, I’ve chosen Bosc pears because of their firmness and the brownish skin looks beautiful with the chocolate crust.
Bosc pears are the bronze colored pears with an elongated neck, not usually the first picked up at the market.
The competition at the market for pears, is often the bright red or green variety of pears.
However, bosc pears make for the best looking rustic pear tart.
Perhaps you will find, as I have, that the best part about cooking with bosc pears is that they keep their shape.
This is a good thing, especially if you are making poached pears, a French pear tart, or simply want a simple pear tart, like a Galette.
Leaving the skins on these thin slices of bronze colored pears, allowed the edges of the pears to brown nicely once baked, which compliment the brown chocolate crust.
3 Easy Steps To An Impressive Chocolate Crusted Pear Tart
- This easy chocolate crust comes together fast in any food processor. Once the ingredients are whirled together in the machine, the crust becomes an easy ‘press-in’ crust, crimping the edges of the dough once in place. This type of crust can be made in advance, if need be, even kept in the freezer for that time of year we are already busy making lots of food for the holiday season. If you are really in a pinch for time, a store-bought puff pastry, with its flaky pastry texture, can be used, and maybe just drizzle melted chocolate across the baked pear tart, but I’m telling you, this crust is easy.
- The pear custard filling couldn’t be easier. Simply peel and slice extra pears (not being sliced for the top), simmer in a little bit of butter and sugar, whisk in crushed nuts and an egg and this custard is ready for the final folding in of a dollop of mascarpone and transferred to the prepared crust to be topped with pears and bake.
- Decoratively, we want to keep as much of the shape of these lovely pears, to be displayed on top of the tart before it goes into the oven. For this reason again, a great choice is the bosc pear, which has an elongated shape, clearly denoting that it is a pear, unlike its rival, anjou pears, which have a short neck. Once sliced, simply fan the pears in an attractive way and they will stay in place while baking. A little sprinkle of coarse sugar on top, before going into the oven, helps to caramelize the finish on the pears.
- Food processor – to crush nuts and mix the crust quickly
- 9-inch removable bottom tart pan – non-stick and easy to remove any pie crust from.
- Small saucepan – to simmer one pear and add nuts
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Vegetable peeler
- Sharp knife and cutting board
- Small pastry roller – a must have in my kitchen!
- All Purpose Flour
- Raw cacao – rich in flavor with nothing else added.
- Bosc Pears
- Mascarpone or cream cheese
- Coarse sugar
Other Easy Crust Fruit Tarts To Love
Desserts are an individually, specific choice people make; from cookies to ice cream, we each have our preferred dessert.
Comparatively, my choice is always a dessert with texture and a little crunch, which is why you will find lots of tarts, pies and cookies on my blog, as opposed to cakes.
Specifically, fruit tarts are my favorite and I like to make them with the healthiest version of a crust I can create; for this reason, I create lots of No-roll crusts.
- Peach Pecan Rum – loaded with fresh peaches, a pecan butter crust and a spiced rum pecan crisp topping.
- Quick Custard Raspberry Mini Tarts – perfectly formed in mini-tart pans, sweetened condensed milk and eggs, and baked to summertime perfection.
- Farm Fresh Strawberry Tarts – of buttery pastry, cream or coconut milk custard and lots of fresh strawberries, are a delicious way to welcome spring!
- Blueberry Orange Blossom Tarts – simply lots of blueberries layered over a thin orange blossom custard, and baked as individual portions.
Chocolate Crusted Pear Hazelnut Tart
- Food processor
- 9-inch removable bottom tart pan
- Chocolate Tart Crust
- 1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
- 1/3 cup Raw cacao
- 8 tbsp Unsalted cold butter
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Egg white
- 2 tbsp Ice cold water or as needed
- Pear Filling
- 1 cup Hazelnuts lightly toasted and crushed into flour
- 1 Large bosc pear peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 4 oz Mascarpone or cream cheese
- 1 Whole egg
- 1 Egg yolk
- Pear Topping
- 3 Large bosc pears unpeeled, long thin quarter-inch slices
- 1 tbsp Coarse sugar
- Crust Preparation
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.In a food processor, place the butter, sugar and cacao and blitz until crumbled in texture. Add the flour and salt. Whisk to blend.
- While the machine is running, pour in the egg white, followed by small amounts of ice water until the pastry forms a soft ball.
- Transfer to the removable bottom tart pan and press into place, using a pastry roller to flatten the bottom and fingers to pinch and press up the sides. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and set aside.
- Filling Preparation
- In a small saucepan, lightly toast the hazelnuts. Transfer to the food processor and crush the nuts into a flour. Set Aside.
- In the same saucepan, place 1 tablespoon of butter and melt over medium heat. Add 1 peeled and finely chopped pear, along with sugar. Simmer, covered, until the pear is soft and sugar slightly caramelized. Remove from stove top.
- Whisk in the crushed hazelnuts until well blended. Whisk in the mascarpone completely. Whisk in the remaining eggs.Transfer the filling to the prepared chocolate tart pastry.
- Pear Topping
- Take care to slice pears thin and keep their curvy shape. Arrange the thinly sliced sliced pear slices across the top of the filling. Sprinkle with a little coarse sugar on the top of the pears.
- Bake until the crust has started to move away from the edges of the pan and the top is firm, about 50-55 minutes. Cool and serve.