250g flour 60g caster sugar 160g cold butter pinch of salt 1 egg drop or two of vanilla essence
For the filling:
2 eggs 100g golden caster sugar 100g butter 100g ground almonds 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) 3 ripe pears Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 180 C
If you have a food mixer, blend the butter with the flour and sugar, then add the other ingredients and blend until you have a slightly sticky pastry dough. Wrap in film and chill for 30 minutes.
If you are making the pastry by hand, first rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and the other ingredients and mix together and chill for 30 minutes.
Peel, half, trim and slice the pears almost all the way to the tip but leave the end intact to fan them out. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Using plenty of butter, grease a tart tin and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. When you’re ready to roll out the pastry until thin.
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. (A bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water)
Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and creamy, then add the ground almonds. Then add the melted chocolate and continue to beat until the mixture is even in colour.
Lay out the pear halves, put side down inside the pastry case and then pour the chocolate mix around the pears.
Bake in the oven for around 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool a little and then remove and place on a cooling rack.
Note: It is important that pears are ‘ripe’, otherwise they can go dry. Unripe pears could be poached in a little water with sugar and vanilla prior to cooking.