Fruit, chocolate and a dollop of Italian passion- ring in the weekend with this dreamy dessert
Assunta of Dal Pescatore restaurant on Ischia prepared the most spectacular feast for my brother Christian and I. She is renowned for her delicious dessert creations and she hand picked an assortment for us to tuck into. Everything was out of this world, but I was taken with a certain chocolate and pear tart. The chocolate was warm and melting, while the soft pears worked perfectly with the crunchy biscuit base. It was definitely the kind of tart you could eat more than just one slice of.
For the pastry
330g wholegrain spelt flour
100g unrefined icing sugar
180g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 free-range medium egg yolk
1 tbsp cold water for the pears
3 ripe but firm pears, cored, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
20g unsalted butter
1 ½ tbsp unrefined caster sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
For the frangipane
150g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
150g soft unsalted butter
150g unrefined caster sugar
3 free-range medium eggs, lightly beaten
200g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the pastry by beating the flour, sugar and butter in a stand mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes, until it forms a crumbly consistency.
Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix for a further 4–5 minutes (add more water if the mixture looks dry).
Increase the speed and beat until everything comes together into a ball. Wrap up the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 25cm loose-bottom, non-stick tart tin.
Grate a thin layer of the chilled pastry to cover the bottom of the tin. Use your fingers to press and mould the pastry into a nice thin layer and grate some more for the edges. Make sure there are no gaps and the tin is neatly lined all over with pastry. This needs to be done swiftly so that the pastry doesn’t get too warm. You may have some surplus pastry.
Line the pastry with baking parchment, fill the base with baking beans and bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the pears. Set a saucepan over a medium heat and put all the ingredients into the pan. Mix everything around and allow the pears to soften. Cook for about 10 minutes and then set aside.
For the frangipane, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat.
Using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – this will take about 5 minutes on a fast speed.
Turn the speed to medium, gradually drizzle in the beaten eggs then mix in the ground almonds and vanilla extract.
Carefully pour the frangipane filling into the pastry base and arrange the pears in a pattern on top. Pour over the melted chocolate.
Carefully place the tart tin on a baking tray (to prevent any spills) and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, before carefully removing the tart from the tin. Serve warm.
Extracted from Nina Capri by Nina Parker, £19.99, buy online
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