February 13th, 2012
I get it. Sometimes nothing beats a good brownie. But what do you say we bring a little glam back to Valentine’s Day this year?! If you’re with me, this, my loves, is for you and yours.
A simple chocolate tart crust filled with sweet seasonal pears…
salty pistachios and the simplest custard. Quite the threesome (ooh la la!).
This dessert is as easygoing as it is sophisticated.
As desserts go, this tart has very little sugar, so you can feel good about sharing it with your little loves. Save the grown-up portions for after the small folk go to bed, though. This dessert is kinda sexy, too.
If you decide to make this for Valentine’s Day, make the crust tonight or tomorrow morning and then, right before you begin prepping dinner tomorrow, add fruit, whisk remaining ingredients, pour and bake. Need it to be even easier? Skip the homemade crust and find an all-natural, pre-made pie or tart crust. (It doesn’t even have to be chocolate.) Then it’s just fruit, whisk, pour and bake. Just please promise to try it with a homemade chocolate crust at some point. Because you will want to eat this again.
If you can’t whip this up in time for tomorrow’s love-fest, then add it to your recipe box. It doesn’t need to be February 14 to bring some glam and romance to the dinner table.
Chocolate Pear and Pistachio Tart
makes one 9″ tart, serves 6-8
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
For the chocolate tart shell
makes enough for two 9″ tarts, barely adapted from Johnny Iuzzini
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk, whole or 2%
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamon
Pinch of black pepper
2-3 pears (depending on their size), peeled, cored and sliced
1. Make the tart shell: Put butter, sugar and salt in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until pale. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and egg white; gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until smooth, scraping the bowl often. In another separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing on low speed until just blended.
2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. The dough will keep in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375. Roll one of the balls of dough into a circle about 12″ in diameter. Transfer to a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, gently pressing the dough over the bottom and up the side of the pan. Trim off any excess dough. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove tart shell from oven and set aside.
3. In the meantime, add pistachios to a food processor and whiz until fine.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of pistachio meal and all of the remaining ingredients except for the pears. Set this custard mixture aside.
5. Once the tart shell has had a chance to cool, line the bottom with slices of pear. You can be artful about this or haphazard—it all tastes the same, though artful looks prettier in the end. Pour the custard mixture over the pears and bake for 25-30 minutes, until custard is set all around, but just a little jiggly in the center. Allow tart to cool in the pan, then remove fluted side. Sprinkle with remaining pistachio meal before serving.
*Note: Though this is relatively low in sugar, I suggest saving a sweet treat like this for kids 12+ mos. No matter how old your eaters, be sure that they are safely eating tree nuts before sharing this pistachio-laced dessert and keep their portion small. A little dessert goes a long way with wee ones!