As a teenage foreign exchange student in the south of France, I was horribly homesick. Then my host family's grandmother Miette arrived and asked if I'd like to help her bake this nutty tart from scratch. It turned my trip around and inspired my lifelong passion for baking. Weighing ingredients, roasting nuts, kneading dough…the art of baking transcends language. — Lexi McKeown, Los Angeles, California
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- Dash salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
- 6 canned pear halves, drained, sliced and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons honey, warmed
- Confectioners' sugar
- In a small bowl, mix flour, hazelnuts, brown sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
- Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Trim pastry even with edge. Prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in egg yolks and amaretto. Beat in hazelnuts and cocoa.
- With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold a third of the egg whites into hazelnut mixture, then fold in remaining whites. Spread onto bottom of pastry shell. Arrange pears over top.
- Bake on a lower oven rack 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Brush pears with warm honey. Cool on a wire rack. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Chocolate Pear Hazelnut Tart in Taste of Home December 2013
Sweet White Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.
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