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Ricotta, almond and chocolate tarts with poached pears

You'll need

1.5 kg firm ricotta 300 gm raw caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten 200 gm almond meal Finely grated rind of 1 lemon For dusting: pure icing sugar   Pastry 555 gm plain flour 170 gm caster sugar 380 gm cold butter, diced 3 egg yolks   White wine-poached pears 8 honey or corella pears, peeled, halved 750 ml pinot grigio, or other Italian white wine 500 gm caster sugar 2 cinnamon quills 4 thyme sprigs Juice and thinly peeled rind of 1 lemon   Bitter chocolate sauce 200 gm bitter chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped 200 ml pouring cream 200 gm softened butter


  • 01
  • For pastry, pulse flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until fine crumbs form, then add yolks, 1 tbsp chilled water and a pinch of salt and process until mixture just comes together. Turn onto a work surface and knead until smooth, then roll three-quarters of pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 28cm x 30cm rectangle. Transfer to a 30cm x 32cm x 1cm baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, roll remaining pastry between two sheets of baking paper into a 3mm-thick rectangle. Remove top layer of paper and refrigerate until pastry is firm (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Whisk ricotta, sugar and eggs in a large bowl until smooth, then fold in almond meal and lemon rind. Spoon ricotta mixture into pastry base and smooth top. Cut chilled pastry into long 5mm-wide strips and arrange in a lattice pattern on top of ricotta mixture. Bake until base is cooked, tart is golden and filling is set (40-50 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for white wine-poached pears, combine ingredients in a wide shallow saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium heat, cover closely with a piece of baking paper and a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until pears are tender (10-20 minutes). Set aside to cool in poaching liquid.
  • 04
  • For bitter chocolate sauce, combine chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and glossy (3-5 minutes), then gradually add 150ml boiling water, stirring until smooth and glossy.
  • 05
  • Dust tart with icing sugar, cut into squares, drizzle with warm bitter chocolate sauce and serve with white wine-poached pears.

Tarts equal stress-free entertaining, especially if you have a crowd; they can be made well in advance and are easy to serve. If berries are in season, you can use them as an alternative to the pears: simply toss them in a little lemon juice and icing sugar.

At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 18 people

Drink Suggestion

Italian-style passito (dried grape) sweetie.

Featured in

Nov 2011

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