Chocolate pastry dough:
95g icing sugar
35g ground almonds
20g Staffords Cocoa Powder
120g butter, cold & cubed
1 XL free-range egg
85g butter, softened
2 XL free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g almond flour (ground almonds)
20g Staffords Cocoa Powder
Pinch sea salt
3 ripe pears
1.5 litres water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 lemon, zest peeled in strips and juice
2 Tbsp smooth apricot jam
Splash of water
To serve: toasted flaked almonds, gold leaf, icing sugar
For the pastry dough:
Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to mix well. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Add the egg and pulse until everything comes together into a dough.
Press dough into a large disc and wrap well in cling film. Rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Roll dough out thinly between two sheets of baking paper and chill in the fridge.
For the poached pears:
Combine the water and sugar in a medium sized pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Peel the pears, leaving the stem on, slice in half and gently rub each pear with cut lemon to prevent the pears from oxidizing. Using a melon baller or small paring knife, core the pears. Rub again with lemon. Place pears in the poaching liquid. Keep the poaching liquid at a low simmer.
Cut a piece of baking paper just larger than your pot. Scrunch it up and then press it down to keep the pears submerged in the liquid. Cook pears for about 12 to 15 minutes, until just knife tender. Switch off the heat and cool the pears to room temperature in the poaching liquid.
For the chocolate frangipane:
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour, cocoa powder and ground almonds and mix to combine.
Season with a little salt.
To assemble the tart:
Pre-heat oven to 165°C.
Remove pastry from the fridge. Roll pastry up onto a rolling pin and carefully transfer the dough to a 24cm metal tart pan with a loose bottom. Using finger tips, push dough into corners and gently shape the tart base. Trim off the excess.
Fill tart with chocolate frangipane and smooth. Slice pears thinly and then fan them out slightly. Transfer them fanned out using a spatula and place onto the frangipane. Press them in gently.
Bake tart in the bottom third of the oven for 50-60 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the frangipane has set. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool.
Place apricot jam in a small saucepan with a splash of water. Bring to a simmer.
Bush glaze over the whole tart using a pastry brush.
Scatter tart edges with toasted almonds and dust with icing sugar.
Finally add touches of goldleaf and you are ready to slice and serve