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
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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.

“Pear-Blueberry Clafoutis Southern-Style”

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I am quite smitten with my pears this summer. I have spent some time gazing at them and even more time posing them, turning them this way and that, looking at how they catch the light at different hours of the day.  They are very willing models…silent, accommodating and seductively gorgeous.

This is not Food on Fifth’s first “pear rodeo” so to speak. In years past I have posted “A Series of Coincidences Involving Pears”,  “Pear Infused Vodka” and “A Seasonal and Southern Red Bartlett Pear-Almond Cake”. Soon a pear jam will appear on these pages…not today, but soon.

A Clafoutis (lovely to say aloud softly and be sure to keep the “s”),  and very French…a perfect pairing with my Southern twist…cornbread mix from “Southern City Flavors”, which you can buy at Whole Foods Markets or online,  and blueberries….a very oooh la la morning moment.

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This recipe is my adaptation of the classic French clafoutis which is pretty hard to trump. I was working on a photo shoot with Mike Weeks, proprietor of “Southern City Flavors” recently and he gave me a couple of bags of his cornmeal mix. Familiar with this product via Batch Nashville, I knew it would be a good fit with my Southern-style clafoutis.

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Quick and so easy, a warm, just out of the oven clafoutis with local berries & pears, light and custardy, just a hint of cornmeal crunch….powdered sugar or not…is what Sunday’s are made for. Oui? Oui!

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Sans a dusting of powdered sugar……..with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Pear-Blueberry Clafoutis, Southern-Style

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:

  • 6 small ripe, but firm pears, halved & cores removed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 TBSP softened butter
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 generous TBSP vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup white cornbread mix
  • powdered sugar if desired

Directions for Cooking:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter an 8 to 10 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the buttered dish with 2 TBSP of the raw sugar. Arrange halved & cored pears cut side down in the bottom of the dish. Scatter the blueberries over the pears. Set aside.
  3. In a blender or with a hand mixer, blend the milk, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt & cornbread mix together.
  4. Pour batter over the pears & blueberries gently tapping the dish on the kitchen counter to get out any air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown on top.
  6. Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

Cardamom Blueberry Butter & Seckel Pear Tart

A very fine “Cardamom Blueberry Butter & Seckel Pear Tart”

Recently a small package, neatly wrapped in brown paper arrived at my home. It was post-marked from Victoria, British Columbia. A bright red “fragile” sticker was prominently displayed on the front. I knew immediately that my “prize” had arrived. And indeed upon tearing open the box I found, nestled snuggly inside, cushioned with bright turquoise tissue paper, 3 beribboned jars of “Cardamom Blueberry Butter”. Two of favorite flavors melded into one knockout treat!

The lovely trio of jars was homemade using fresh Canadian Blueberries by another blogger-friend, Kristy Lynn, who has a great blog at: gastronomicalsovereignty@blogspot.com. I have been following and enjoying Kristy’s blog for a while now and recently she did a “giveaway” of three jars of her homemade blueberry butter & I was the lucky winner. British Columbia to Tennessee….a long trip for some little glass jars.

Lucky I was indeed! The first thing I did was grab a spoon, open a jar & eat it straight from the jar. Mmmmm. It was so delicious & unlike any fruit butter I’ve ever had.  Beautiful color & texture, a definite fresh blueberry taste with just a hint of the cardamom. I love thinking about how far these berries-turned-into-butter traveled….where they came from,  Kristy making the butter and canning them in her kitchen far, far away. Here I was in Nashville enjoying the flavor of British Columbia right in my own kitchen. Two degrees of delicious separation.

Next…a few days later, my toast test….slices of buttered toast with a smear of Kristy’s blueberry butter. Oh yes…the perfect venue. Kerrygold Butter & Blueberry Butter on hot toast…if it’s good on toast, then it’s good.

Not nice to hoard my treat not sharing with others…even though that thought went through my head. This week I used some of Kristy’s Cardamom Blueberry Butter as the main ingredient for a tart I developed. I had some sweet little ripe Seckel pears and a tub of Mascarpone cheese which seemed like a nice pairing with the butter along with a sweetened pastry crust.

For this recipe I used:

5 ripe Seckel pears, peeled & cored, cut in half lengthwise

1 (8oz) tub of Mascarpone cheese

4 generous tablespoons Cardamom Blueberry Butter (this recipe could be made with any really good homemade butter such as pumpkin butter)

1 pastry slightly sweetened

Raw or Turbinado sugar

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll pastry dough out  on floured board to about a 12 inch circle more or less. Fit into an 8 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

                                                                      

2. Use a knife to cut away any pastry that overlaps the edge of the pan.

3. Spread the container of Mascarpone cheese over the bottom of the crust evenly.

4.  Top with Cardamom Blueberry Butter.

5. Peel pears with a sharp knife. Cut pears in half longways. Carefully remove core. I used the sharp edge of a small table-spoon to remove core as pears were very ripe and small. Place pear halves face down on top of the blueberry butter.

6. Sprinkle pears with a bit of the raw sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly, crust is a deep golden brown & tops of pears are starting to brown. Remove from oven. Let cool on a rack for about 30 minutes to serve warm. This tart is also delicious served at room temp.

7. Serve cut into wedges with an additional sprinkling of sugar to add just a bit of crunch to each bite.

There were a few friends…the tart was cut, it was shared, it was eaten with Relish, it was enjoyed on a fall day at the end of October.

 A Small All Hallow’s Eve Gallery

adios October, hola November…..