- 330 ml pouring cream
- 30 ml muscat
- 250 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 200 gm (1 1/3 cup) plain flour
- 60 gm pure icing sugar
- 120 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- For brushing: eggwash
- 400 ml muscat
- 440 gm (2 cups) caster sugar
- Thinly peeled rind and juice of 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 6 small firm ripe pears, such as honey pears, halved, cores removed with a melon baller
- 1For pâte sucrée, process flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine, add butter and 1 tbsp iced water, process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add yolk, process to combine, turn onto a work surface and bring together with the heel of your hand. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate (2 hours).
- 2Meanwhile, for muscat-poached pears, bring muscat, sugar, orange rind and juice, cinnamon and 600ml water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pear, cover closely with baking paper, weight with a plate and simmer until just tender (15-20 minutes). Transfer 500ml poaching liquid to a saucepan, simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to a light syrup (10-15 minutes), cool to room temperature. Cool pears in remaining poaching liquid.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Divide pastry into 8, roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick and line eight 10.5cm-diameter, 2cm-deep fluted tart tins. Trim edges and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Blind bake tarts until light golden (15-20 minutes), remove paper and weights, brush with eggwash, bake again until crisp and golden (4-5 minutes), cool on a wire rack.
- 4Bring cream and muscat to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add chocolate, remove from heat, stir until smooth, refrigerate until slightly thick (30 minutes).
- 5Drain pear and pat dry with absorbent paper. Thinly slice 4 pear halves, arrange in tart cases, pour over ganache and refrigerate until set. Serve with muscat-poached pears, reduced syrup and candied rind.
Note Nothing compares with homemade pastry, especially when it produces such delicate crisp tart shells as these. Brushing the baked pastry cases with eggwash before baking them again seals the pastry and ensures it remains crisp after the filling has been added.
Drink Suggestion: A rich red fortified wine such as Banyuls. Drink suggestion by Max Allen