A Winter Dessert, Deep Dark Chocolate Almond Pear Tart

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The light goes early this late November. I catch the last few minutes as my tart comes out of the oven. Dark, deeper colors as the sun sets casting a winter mood.

Deep dark chocolate….ground almonds…6 ripe, yet firm fall pears. Strong and delicate flavors melded to become something magical in the waning light.

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Small Seckel Pears, sometimes called “sugar pears” due to their sweetness. are the perfect fit for this recipe. Pears are very abundant in markets these days with a great variety on offer.

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Carefully cored and peeled,  I used the stems to add a bit of style.  I love the way they look when baked on top of each little pear.

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Before and after baking….

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…up close, ready to slice and eat.

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Yum and yum.

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A Winter Dessert, Deep, Dark Chocolate Almond Pear Tart

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened + extra for brushing on tart pan
  • 6 firm, yet ripe Seckel Pears, cored, peeled, saving stems
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almonds, whole or slivered
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemons zest
  • powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush tart pan sides and bottom with softened butter.
  3. Toss prepped pears with the lemon juice
  4. Process sugar and almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond extracts, salt and zest until combined into a thick batter. Scrape batter into the tart pan and spread out evenly.
  5. Gently press pears into the batter around the edge of the pan evenly spaced. Insert the stems down into the pears. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Bake tart until puffy, for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out with a few wet crumbs attached. Take care to not overbake. Cool tart on a wire rack.
  7. Serve dusted with powdered sugar if desired.

“Blood Oranges, Poundless Poundcakes & a Poem”

Blood Orange

Blood Oranges

They reach out to you….. 

…..Glow 

like brilliant sons. 
Silent and sleepy
in the aisle 
of imported fruit.
They call to your amazement-
these prodigals far from home.
But, this is not Italy.
No Alimentare here.

Poem in part by ari’ anna arena (click here for full poem)

Enchanted….seduced…far-away-longings…These are all brought about each late winter when the “Moro Blood Oranges” begin to show up in the markets. I can never resist them.

In posts from the past, “Blood Orangecello & Bootlegging” and “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”, I have proclaimed my devotion to this most exotic & engaging citrus.

This week I turn to musings about pound cakes (doesn’t the name sound fattening?).

Recently on a photo shoot for Relish Magazine I baked a couple of pound cakes using no butter, just olive oil. They were delicious & absolutely moist, dense & sturdy, yet delicate in flavors & texture…lower in fat…here is my version using Blood Oranges.

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“Blood Orange & Olive Oil Poundless Pound Cake for Waltzing into Spring”

Ingredients for cake:   1 cup self-rising flour, 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal, pinch of salt, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 generous Tbsps. finely chopped Blood Orange rind, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice

Ingredients for glaze: 1/2 cup Blood Orange juice & 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Blood Orange Peel

Juicing Blood Oranges

Chopped Blood Orange Peel

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard loaf pan. Line with two sheets of parchment paper cut to fit…overlapping in the bottom of the pan.

2. Whisk together the self-rising flour & self-rising cornmeal & salt.

3. Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, chopped rind & olive oil. (or use a stand mixer). Add the flour mixture, blend well. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack.

Blood Orange Poundcake BatterBaked Poundcake Blood Orange

4. While cake is baking, make the Blood Orange Glaze. Put juice & powdered sugar in a small saucepan, stir well, bring to a low boil and remove from heat. While cake is still warm poke holes in top with a skewer. Drizzle glaze by spoonfuls over cake until half of glaze is used, allowing glaze to soak into the cake through the holes.

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Blood Orange Glaze

5. Remove cake from pan when cooled somewhat using the edges of the parchment paper to lift.

Serve sliced with additional glaze drizzle if desired.

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Tip: One of favorite simple things to do with slices of Blood Oranges is to dip the edges in Turbinado sugar & eat!

Add sugar dipped wedges of Blood Oranges to the rim of a cup of tea. Just squeeze juice into tea & stir.

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A short, sweet season is close to the end…until next year my beauties!