When I think of desserts, I tend to gravitate towards fruit-based sweets. It's just me and my husband at home and since he doesn't eat dessert, it's mostly just me stuffing myself on baked goods. Lemon cakes and berry muffins always are easier to eat on a regular basis versus having a slice of chocolate cake. But we're in quarantine because of the coronavirus so I said screw it. I'm making a pear chocolate hazelnut tart and eating the whole thing. No one can stop me and no one can judge me. Besides this tart has fruit so it's slightly healthier right?
Pear Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
- 2 cups hazelnuts skins removed
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg white
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar divided
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 Bosc or Anjou pears peeled, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use a food processor to pulse 2 cups hazelnuts until finely ground. Combine the ground hazelnuts with 2 tbsp melted butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, and 1 egg white. Spray a tart pan with cooking spray and press the hazelnut mixture into the pan to create the crust. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Make the tart filling. Melt ½ cup butter with ⅓ cup sugar in a small pot over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the butter over 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate in a large bowl, stirring until the chocolate has melted.
- Beat together the remaining ⅓ cup sugar with 3 eggs using a whisk attachment until it's pale yellow and thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add ⅓ of the egg mixture to the chocolate, stirring until well combined. Fold in the remaining egg mixture to the chocolate, adding ⅓ of the eggs at a time. Pour the chocolate filling into the hazelnut crust.
- Peel and thinly slice 3 pears about ⅛ inch thick. Arrange the sliced pears on the chocolate filling. Combine ¼ tsp cinnamon with ¼ cup granulated sugar and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the pears. Arrange hazelnuts on top.
- Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes or until the edges have set. The center of the tart will still be a little wobbly. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If Ferrero rocher transformed itself into a baked good, this pear chocolate hazelnut tart would be it. Imagine hazelnut crust filled to the brim with silky dark chocolate and topped with cinnamon-spiced pears. I mentioned that my husband doesn't eat sweets but I made him try one bite of this tart. His eyes immediately widened as he said, "wow, that's good."
Let's get started, shall we? This tart isn't as difficult as say my earl grey pie but it still does require some work. The first step is to make the hazelnut crust.
The crust is made predominantly from hazelnuts. Add egg white and butter to bind the mixture together, and sugar to sweeten it. Make sure to spray the tart pan first to prevent the crust from sticking. Press the hazelnut crust into the pan and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the crust completely before adding the filling.
While the crust is cooling, make the chocolate filling. To avoid having an overly sweet pear chocolate hazelnut tart, we're going to use bittersweet chocolate. Melt butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and pour the mixture over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted. You can also heat the butter and sugar in the microwave if that's easier.
Beat the remaining sugar with eggs using a whisk attachment until the mixture is a pale yellow, about 3-4 minutes on medium speed. When you lift the whisk, the egg-sugar mixture should flow like a thick ribbon. Add ⅓ of this mixture to the chocolate, stirring to loosen up the chocolate. Fold in the remaining mix, adding ⅓ of the eggs at a time.
Pour the chocolate filling in the hazelnut crust and arrange the sliced peeled pears on top. If you want to be extra professional, you can first practice arranging the pears on a cutting board and then transfer them to the tart. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the pears, garnish with some hazelnuts, and bake the tart until the center is only slightly wobbly. It should still jiggle just a bit just like cheesecake.
Cool the tart completely before slicing into this bad boy. You can also chill the tart overnight and wait to cut into it the next day if you can wait. I did notice that when the pear chocolate hazelnut tart has chilled overnight, the hazelnut crust does soften up. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. It's delicious either way, with a crunchy crust or softer one.
It's been two days and I have worked my way through a quarter of the tart. Not bad progress, wouldn't you say?