During my college years, I worked at a French Patisserie, serving up incredible pastries, viennoiserie, cookies, and chocolates. The store briefly had a policy that employees could eat pastries that accidentally broke, until of course they noticed that one particular pastry girl was suspiciously clumsy and also rapidly getting rounder around the middle. Guilty! Hehe.
One of the pastries that mysteriously kept on breaking was my favorite chocolate pear tart. With a shortbread crust, pastry cream filling studded with pears, and thick chocolate ganache topping, this tart was just to-die-for! Years later, I nailed a homemade version of this treat, complete with a thick custard filling. Delicious, but not exactly health-conscious.
I would love to master a vegan custard so I can be reunited with my beloved Chocolate Pear Tart again. However, until that day comes, I have created it’s cousin – the Vegan Almond Tart with Pears and Chocolate. It has many of the components of my first love; a shortbread-based crust, rich dark chocolate, and elegantly sliced pears. I would argue it makes a much more beautiful presentation too, with the pears fanned out in a circle peaking through delectable little crumbles of almond shortbread. The flavor is delicate, refined, and perfectly balanced. You get hints of almond, cinnamon, chocolate and pear in every bite, all in such harmony that it seems these four ingredients were made to be together. If I were still a pastry girl, I think I’d be ‘accidentally’ breaking this pastry on the regular 😉
- 1 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup almond meal (Put 1 cup of almonds in the food processor until they are the texture of course sand)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and sliced (I quartered each pear, and then cut each quarter into 4 slices)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
- Lightly grease a 9-inch round spring-form pan and then place a sheet of parchment paper, cut to fit, in the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a parchment lined cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch drips from the cake pan later on while baking.
- Use an electric mixer to blend together the coconut oil, sugar, and almond extract, until well combined.
- Add the almond meal to the oil mixture, and blend until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, and blend just until combined.
- Place 1 cup of the dough into a bowl and set aside. Pour the rest of the dough into the prepared pan and use your hands to push it down firmly to form a bottom crust.
- Starting with the outer edge, arrange the pear slices in a circle, without much overlapping. I made two circles (one inside the other), and I had a few slices of pear leftover at the end that I just ate. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the pears, and then crumble the rest of the dough on top.
- Bake the tart on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes, until lightly golden brown. When I baked mine, the pears made a lot of juice that leaked out of the bottom of the pan and made a mess of my oven! That’s why I suggest placing a cookie sheet on the rack beneath the cake to catch these drips. Line this sheet with parchment paper so that the juice drips don’t burn on contact with the hot metal and smoke up your oven.
- Place the tart on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing the spring-form edge. Keep the tart on the metal base for serving. Cover any leftovers with foil and keep at room temperature up to 3 days.