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MasterChef Australia

Weds - Fri at 7.30pm TVNZ 1

Ep 64: Chocolate Frangipane & Vincotto Pear Tart

Chocolate Frangipane and Vincotto Pear Tart

Serves: 4
Preparation: 50 minutes
Cooking: 50 minutes

250g plain flour
pinch salt
60g cocoa powder
100g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
iced water

Poached pears

500ml water
250g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
Juice and strips of rind of one lemon
1/3 cup vincotto
4 medium corella pears, peeled

Chocolate frangipane
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
2 eggs
100g almond meal
1 tablespoon flour
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
100g dark chocolate, melted

Chantilly cream
300ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Thyme leaves, to serve

1 Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced.

2 For pastry, place flour, salt, cocoa, and sugar in a food processor and process for 30 seconds until mixed. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles crumbs. With the motor running add egg yolk and about 40ml iced water, or just enough for dough to come together.

3 Tip onto a lightly floured surface, bring together to form a flat disc, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate until just firm.

4 For poached pears, place water, sugar, vanilla, lemon peel and vincotto in a deep, small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Peel pears and remove core from base. Place pears, stem-side up in the saucepan and reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer until pears are tender. Add lemon juice to syrup. Remove pears, allow to cool slightly, reserve poaching syrup.  Slice sides of pears in curved lines, starting 2cm from the stem in a curved line down to the base, repeat at 1cm intervals. The pear should be joined at the top and separate at the base, so when you twist the pear the slices will fan out.

5 Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 2mm thick. Butter and flour 4 x 10cm fluted tart  tins with removable bases. Line each tart tin with pastry, trimming the edge to fit the tin. Refrigerate until pastry is firm. Line tarts with baking paper and pastry weights and bake for 15 minutes until firm around the edge, remove pastry weights and paper and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until pastry is set. Remove from oven and set aside.

6 For the chocolate frangipane, cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Fold in almond meal and flour and then melted chocolate.

7 Fill the tart shells with the frangipane, smooth the surface and bake for 20 minutes or until frangipane is cooked. Set aside until firm. Carefully remove the tarts from the tins and place onto serving plates.  Place a poached pear in the centre of each tart, slightly fanned by twisting the pear. Drizzle the tart and plate with a little poaching liquid and scatter with thyme.

8 For chantilly cream, whip cream with remaining ingredients to soft peaks. Serve on the side of the tart.