Updated: Feb 14
This is an updated version.
My favorite part of a full coarse meal is the dessert. If a restaurant fails at their dessert, then it fails as a whole. I mean, who doesn't love desserts? Do not trust anyone who doesn't; those are the real sociopaths. Lol. Just kidding. Anyway, this is the last dish I had served for The Simpler Living lunch event. Here's a snapshot.
A simple Poire Belle Hélène. I was wondering if I had done justice to the classic French dessert. I decided to research more online; actually, I am looking for other ways to incorporate the poached pear. Then I stumbled upon Bruno Albouze's version. I was completely blown away and I immediately stormed into action and made this.
The only problem with that is you cannot unmold the cake; you have to serve it as it is or in a ramekin. Such a waste right? So, I decided to take this already perfect idea and improvise into a chocolate tart instead. You can opt not to go thru' the hustle of making a tart shell. (you can still impress your loved ones this Valentine's Day, not to worry ).
On a side note, I also removed the rose petals. Cos I feel like there is already too much stuff going on. The best part is you can prep the poached pears and tart shells in advance. During V Day, you just need to prepare the chocolate batter and bake. Anyway, all the detailed directions are down below. Give this recipe a go and surprise your beloved this V Day.
Inspired by Bruno Albouze
Light Muscovado Sugar, 150g
Cinnamon Stick, 1
Star Anise, 2
Lemongrass White Part Only Smashed, 1
Bénédictine D.O.M. / Spiced Rum, 2 TBSP
Fresh Orange Zest, 1 Orange
Ginger Smashed, 1/2 Inch
Pears Preferably Belgian Conference Pears, 4
Unsalted Butter, 60g
Icing Sugar, 45g
High Quality Cocoa Powder Preferably Valrhona or Callebaut, 13g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Blanced Almond Flour, 15g
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 105g
High Quality Dark Chocolate Preferably Valrhona or Callebaut, 75g
Unsalted Butter Softened, 56g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Cointreau / Grand Marnier / Cognac, 2 TBSP
Fresh Orange Zest, 1/2 Orange
Demerara Sugar, 50g
Corn Flour, 25g
Raw Cacao Nibs, For Garnishing
Edible Gold Dust, For Garnishing
Fresh Mint, For Garnishing
Hand / Stand Mixer
Oven Proof Ramekins (Optional)
3.5" Pastry Rings
Prepare the poached pears.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, add water, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemongrass, liqueur, orange zest and ginger.
Stir to combine well and until the sugar has dissolved. Stir, stir, stir.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 30 mins.
Remove from heat.
Peel the pears using a peeler.
*I am using Belgian Conference Pears. They are sweet and seedless. You can use other types of pears, Bosc works well too. Except for Chinese pears.*
Using a melon baller, carefully remove the bottom of the pears.
If you are using pears like Bosc, you will need to scrape out all the seeds with a small sharp knife. Do it carefully and not damage the pears.
Place the pears immediately into the syrup or it will oxidize very quickly.
Fill the pot with more water, just enuff to submerge the pears and only if necessary.
Return the pot back onto the heat.
Cut out a round parchment paper to cover the pears and the syrup.
This will ensure even coloring of the pears.
Bring it up to a simmer and turn the heat down to low.
Cover and poach the pears for 20 to 30 mins.
Remove from heat and let chill in the fridge overnight, with the parchment paper still in tact.
Prepare the tart.
*You can skip this if you are using ramekins or without any tart shell.*
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius or 360 fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer.
Add in sugar and continue creaming until combined well.
Add in cocoa powder, salt and almond flour. Mix until well combined.
Add in egg and mix until fully incorporated.
Lastly, fold in flour in 1/3 portions until everything is well combined.
*Do not overmix.*
Transfer onto a cling film.
Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hrs or best overnight, to firm up.
Transfer the dough onto parchment paper.
Place another parchment paper on top and roll into 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out circles larger than your pastry rings.
Swiftly, transfer the discs into the greased pastry rings.
Using your finger to lightly press and shape.
Trim off any excess with a sharp knife.
*You can reroll the leftover cookie dough. You can also freeze any leftover dough.*
Transfer the tart shells onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Wack into the oven and bake for 15 mins.
Remove from the oven and as quickly as you can, remove the pastry rings.
*Once the tarts are cool enuff to handle, you can use a microplane to trim off any rough surface around the brim.*
Prepare the lava cakes.
Preheat oven to 230 degree celsius or 450 fahrenheit.
On a double boiler, add chocolate.
Once the chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and add butter.
Stir until well combined and the butter has melted as well.
Add in salt, Cointreau and orange zest.
Mix until well combined and set aside.
In another bowl, add egg and sugar.
Whisk to combine well.
Add 1/3 of the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Whisk until everything is fully incorporated.
Transfer back into the chocolate mixture.
Fold until well combined.
Fold in the corn flour until everything is fully incorporated.
If you are using ramekins, transfer the chocolate batter into ramekins to about 3/4 full.
*Do take note that you will not be able to unmold the cakes.*
If you would like to serve these on a serving plate without any tart shell, lightly grease a pastry ring with some butter and wrap the inner circumference with parchment paper. Place the pastry ring on the serving plate and pour the batter into the ring.
If you are using the tart shells, pour in the chocolate batter.
Wack into the oven and bake for 8 mins.
The edge should be hard while the middle is still soft and jiggly.
Drain pears from the syrup.
*You can make excellent tea with the syrup.*
Place 1 pear into each ramekin, pastry ring, or tart shell.
There will be cracks and that's the beauty of this dish.
Wack back into the oven and bake for a further 5 mins.
Remove from oven.
Garnish with some cacao nibs and mint on the sides
Sprinkle some gold dust over the top.
Serve immediately while they are still warm.
After taking that shot of me destroying the dish, I decided to go on an artsy route.
Does that give you "Oops, I dropped my chocolate tart." vibes? Inspired by the great Massimo Bottura.