If you’re like me you get an idea for cooking something in your mind then start experimenting. Really this recipe for Chocolate Pear Tartlets was a huge experiment with a high likelihood at failure BUT this time my experiment turned out. And not just barely, this one was a huge success. I’ve had plenty of experimental failures (remember when I almost burnt the kitchen down) so it felt nice to create something completely new and also find it fabulous! Josh’s remarks were that it was his favorite dessert I have made in a while! Success!
I’ve made lots of pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas – Chess Pie (my very favorite pie), Pumpkin Chocolate Pie, Maple Buttermilk Pie with Meringue, Apricot Hazelnut Pie so I wanted to make something a bit different this year, something rich and chocolate-y but also with winter fruit. So came the invention of these Chocolate Pear Tartlets!
If you’ve been stopping by the blog from time to time you’ve probably heard that I don’t do pie crusts (at least not well) so I mostly make crusts from crushed cookies or chopped nuts. This crust is so simple with just walnuts and dates which paired perfectly with the rich chocolate custard.
If you haven’t experimented with dates much before, let me tell you a few things. They are sweet, very sweet, but it is all natural sweetness, no added sugar. This time I used medjool dates from Caramel Naturel in Califlornia. I love that their branding implies that dates are nature’s caramel because the flavor of dates is truly rich and caramel-like. They are great when your making energy bars and don’t want to add sugar (like these homemade lara bars), for holiday chocolate truffles, or even to sweeten up homemade chocolate ice cream. I also throw chopped dates over oatmeal or puree them into smoothies from time to time. And last but not least, they make a fantatic pie crust binder and sweetener. They’re magical!
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 6 medjool dates, remove seeds and roughly chop
- 1 pear, sliced thin vertically
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, or gluten free flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts and chopped dates in food processor and process until finely ground. Press the dough into tartlet pans or 1 regular sized tart pan. Place tartlet pans on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Toss the pear slices in a bowl with the cinnamon and lemon juice. Set aside.
Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until completely melted. Stir in the milk, almond, and salt. Set aside.
Combine the egg, egg yolk, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in the food processor or mixer bowl and process for 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and chocolate mixture and continue to process until smooth and completely incorporated.
Pour mixture so that it reaches the top of the crust then arrange sliced pears on top (depending on the size of your pears, you may have some custard leftover). Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until filling is set and crust is slightly golden. Let cool completely before serving.
These tarts are nearly gluten free, with just a few tablespoons of flour in the custard which could easily be substituted for gluten free flour.