A few weeks before Thanksgiving I gave up gluten again. I was really wondering if I could be strong enough to resist all of my favorite Thanksgiving fixin's that weren't GF. I made a plan so it would be easier to be good. I looked for recipes on my favorite GF blogs so that I could be prepared with things on hand to take with me or eat before we went anywhere. If I didn't, I knew I'd feel left out or tempted to cheat.
I have not cheated once! I'm so proud of myself. It's been over a month and not one indiscretion. Not even a tiny one. It's been hard. But I find that I'm not craving sweets or wheat anymore. That is a huge step. And I feel soooo much better. Going completely vegan will help too. (I'm almost there!) It's kind of strange, but I almost feel like I've had to mourn the loss of eating the things that make me ill. I had to say good-bye to them after really seeing what a difference it makes to NOT eat them. That's going to be a separate post one of these days.
Pie has never been my favorite dessert. I make a few each year for special occasions and to please my husband who adores pie. Tarts, however, are different. They aren't that different from pie, but in my mind they are much more enjoyable. Anyone else feel like that?
Anyway, I saw Aran's Forelle Pear, Chocolate and Pistachio Tartlets a few days before Thanksgiving and knew that's what I wanted to make as my GF dessert.
I adapted it a bit according to what I had on hand. For instance, I only have on big tart pan, so no tartlets. I also didn't have hazelnut flour on hand for the crust, instead I used ground almonds. I did have a little leftover hazelnut praline, which is basically ground candied hazelnuts. I used that for the filling instead of pistachios and left out some of the honey. Instead of coconut milk, I used heavy cream because I had some that needed to be used.
Everyone seemed to love this tart. It was so grown-up and sophisticated. I love chocolate and pears together. The only thing I will change the next time I make this (and believe me, there will be a next time), is to use ripe pears. It was my mistake to use underripe pears. I thought they'd keep their shape better, but soften as they baked. Not so. They stayed crunchy. Not terrible, but not what I was going for.
Another winner from Aran! Everything I've made from her blog has been spectacular. It's making this GF transition much easier.
Definitely the prettiest tart I've ever made. :)
Chocolate, Pear, and Hazelnut Tart with Chocolate Almond Crust
adapted from Aran Goyoga of www.cannellevanille.com
Makes one 9-10" round tart
For Chocolate Almond Crust:
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup superfine brown rice flour*
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Tart Filling:
4 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I used medium-sized Bartlett pears)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon good-quality honey (I used only 1 Tbsp.)
2 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts (I used hazelnut praline, similar to this recipe)
1/2 cup heavy cream
For Chocolate Almond Crust:
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer and a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add them to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Turn it onto your work surface and form it into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust your work surface with a little bit of superfine brown rice flour. Place the dough on top and, with a rolling pin, roll it to 1/8 inch thickness. (I rolled the dough between a pastry mat and plastic wrap.) Make sure to keep turning the dough while rolling to ensure it does not stick to the surface. If it cracks, pinch it back together.
Fit into a 9-10" round tart pan. Patch any cracks. Evenly trim any overhanging dough. Chill the dough for 20 minutes while preparing the filling.
*To make this with wheat flour, substitute all-purpose flour for the brown rice, buckwheat and tapioca starch.
For Tart Filling:
Preheat oven to 375F. Arrange the sliced pears over the chocolate crust.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the pears. Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until golden and filling has just set.
Let cool to room temperature or chill before cutting into wedges. Print this post