Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails is having a Great Cookbook Giveaway. She has too many cookbooks and is giving them away to fellow food bloggers. The only stipulation she has is that the recipient needs to blog about a recipe from the book they win and mention her blog when they do, so that others will be aware of this opportunity. I was lucky enough to win her first giveaway. The book that I won was Entertain by Ed Baines. Ed Baines is a hotty. He is the chef and co-owner of Randall & Aubin champagne and oyster bar in London’s Soho. He appears on his own TV show, Ed Baines Entertains and for a time he was the official Armani chef and a model on the side. What’s not to like about the guy? He has a passion for food and grew up in a household where fresh local ingredients were the norm. My only problem was trying to figure out which of his wonderful recipes to try.
The recipe I finally chose was Chocolate, Pear & Almond Tart. For those of you who have followed my blog, you probably know that I am partial to pastries and tarts. I would be in my element in a French Patisserie. What I loved about this tart was the first burst of chocolate and orange zest in my mouth when I tasted it. To me chocolate and orange were made for each other. The almonds and pears were more subtle but balanced well with the stronger flavors. The one thing I had a problem with was the pastry. It did not brown as much as I would have liked. I think this problem could be solved by baking the tart at a higher temperature. Even though it did not brown well the pastry was excellent due to the addition of powdered sugar. Ed Baines is an excellent chef and I am pleased to own his cookbook. Thank you Kate for the gift and for inscribing a message to me. Now, all of you need to go over to her blog to take advantage of the cookbook giveaway.
CHOCOLATE, PEAR, & ALMOND TART
For the Pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
a pinch of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 Tbls orange zest
Sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the softened butter and using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until you have a breadcrumb consistency. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and orange rind together with 1 tablespoon of water. Add this to the flour mixture and stir, then work the mixture together until you have a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
1 stick of cubed butter, softened
3 -4 fresh pears (or canned pear halves, drained) I used canned
2 ounces ground almonds
2 ounces slivered almonds
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of one large orange
9 ounces dark chocolate, shredded ( I used mini chocolate chips)
1 Tbls apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees ( I say 350 degrees). Butter a 10 inch tart pan. Peel and core the pears if fresh, then cut them into halves lenghwise. Roll out the pastry and use to line the tart pan. Prick the base of the tart with a fork several times ( this stops the pastry rising through the filling ).
In a large mixing bowl, mix the ground almonds, flour, sugar, and cubes of softened butter with your fingertips, until you have a crumble. Now add the eggs and mix well, again using your fingertips, until you have a paste. Add the vanilla extract, orange rind, shredded chocolate, and slivered almonds, and fold this mixture together.
Place the pear halves over the base of the tart shell and pour over the mixture. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
While this is cooking, put the apricot jam in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and heat gently to form a light syrup.
To test if the tart is properly cooked through, push in a small knife tip and remove; if nothing is sticking to it, the tart is done. Remove from the oven and lightly brush wih the apricot glaze.
This tart is best served hot, with either ice cream or custard flavored with a dash of Amaretto.