I’ve got an elegant Chocolate and Pear Crostata for you that is rather easy to put together.
This crostata is so outrageously good, it will take a lot of restraint not to devour the whole tart. It is made with a pastry crust much like shortbread and with a silky rich chocolate filling. The sweet and juicy Bartlett pears are sliced and fanned out for an elegant appearance which is sure to garner many compliments.
I am a big fan of using fresh local ingredients and it just does not get any more local than my dad’s backyard. His pear tree is just bursting with these juicy fruits ready to be plucked off the tree and just begging to sink one’s teeth into it’s sweet, ripe flesh.
Although you may use a mixer to make the pastry dough, I much preferred my Kitchenaid blender. The dough came together with such ease rendering it soft and pliable, making it very easy to pat down over and around my tart tin.
I tried this crostata once using almonds and another time using walnuts. I must say, my husband and I both prefer the walnuts, but they are easily interchangeable. Whichever nuts you choose, this recipe is a real keeper!
For the pastry:
- 1 and 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
Chocolate and Pear Filling:
- 14 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/3 cups ground walnuts, lightly roasted
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 1/2 oz. dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate melted
- 4 ripe, firm pears
- icing sugar for dusting
- a 10 inch tart tin with a removable base
Preheat the oven to 350*F
For the pastry, place the butter and the sugar together in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the egg yolk and blend again until it is thoroughly mixed. Next, add in the flour and pulse intermittently until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Next you can line the tart tin with the dough by either rolling it out on a lightly floured surface or simply by patting it down in the tart tin while spreading it out with your hands. Chill for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, ground walnuts, flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the chocolate. Spoon the mixture over the pastry and smooth it gently with a palette knife.
Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the cores. Slice them horizontally into 1/4 inch slices and fan them out evenly over the filling. I started from the edges and worked my way towards the center. At the center I overlapped the slices in a circular motion creating a rose. But you can really place the pear slices anyway you like!
Let the crostata cool and then dust with icing sugar
This Chocolate and Pear Crostata is a truly fabulous dessert that is meant to be eaten very slowly, savoring every single bite, accompanied by a very good espresso of coarse:)
Yields 8 slices
Adapted from Cafe Italia Cookbook