Chocolate cream cheese pear tart
A very delicious yet simple tart to ensemble using ready made puff pastry. The chocolate cream cheese is really like having a layer of chocolate cheesecake in-between pears and crisp pastry. For this tart I prefer to roast slightly ripe pears as the roasting seems to intensify their flavour but poaching pears would be fine too. You could use tin/can pears, in which case I would chose pears in syrup for a better flavour pear.
For poaching pears see How to poach pears.
Change the shape
For a different take on this tart – cut in half the rolled out puff pastry and bake them sprinkled heavily with icing sugar. Once the pastry is baked leave to cool. Place the chocolate cream on one half of the pastry, place slices of pears on top and finish with the other pastry. Sieved icing sugar to decorate.
Peel and core pears, brush them with lemon juice to stop discolouring. Put them in a roasting dish and bake them in a pre-heated oven, fan 180˚C/390˚F until they’re very soft. It will depend how ripe they are to begin with, check after 20mins by putting a cocktail stick through thick part and it should go through with ease, if not turn pears over and bake for another 5-10mins. Put them aside to cool.
Whisk the cream cheese until it softens, have it at room temperature before adding the melted chocolate.
The chocolate cream cheese should be smooth and thick.
The best way to mix the melted chocolate is by adding two tablespoons of it into the cream cheese, mix well, tempering the cream, then add the rest of the chocolate.
Cream cheese at room temperature
If the cream cheese is cold from the fridge this will harden the chocolate into little hard pieces making the mixture stiff. In this case add one tablespoon of warm water or milk, stir it in well.
Roll out the pastry fairly thinly where it will be underneath the pears, for it to cook in the middle, the sides can be thicker. Spread the chocolate cream cheese over the prepared puff pastry, leaving an edge.
Chocolate & Pear Tart
- 1 ready rolled sheet puff pastry, or 500g / 1.2lbs pack (for 500g packs you will end up with more pastry than you need)
- 4-6 pears semi ripe pears, peeled cut in half and cored and brushed with lemon juice
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 100g full fat cream cheese
- 100g dark chocolate, 50% coco solids if using milk chocolate at least 30% cocoa solids
- 2 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar, if using darker chocolate
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam or similar, warmed to glaze pears
- beaten egg mixed with a little milk or just milk for glazing pastry edge
- icing sugar – optional for dusting over tart
Roll out the pastry quite thinly, doesn’t matter so much at the edges but you want to make sure the centre is evenly thin for it to bake better. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, if you don’t have a non-stick baking sheet line it with baking paper.
Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a whisk until it has loosen up. Melt the chocolate either in ban marie; heatproof bowl over pan with simmering water but not touching the water. Or microwave for one minute, stir, if not melted another 30 seconds, stir. Let chocolate cool down for a minute before adding it to the cream cheese. Add two tablespoons of chocolate into the cream cheese, mix well, tempering the cream, then add the rest of the chocolate.
Assembling the Tart
Bring the pastry out of the fridge, spread the chocolate cream over it, leaving a border of roughly 2cm or a thumb’s thickness. Place the pear on top of the chocolate.
With a sharp knife cut a very thin strip off the end of the pastry, this will help the layers rise properly. With the tip of a knife make an indentation line all the way around the pastry border, next to the chocolate cream as if you’re creating a frame. This will help the border of the pastry rise around the pear tart ensuring crispy light pastry. Glaze the border with the beaten egg & milk to give it a golden colour.
Baking the Tart
Bake it in a hot oven fan 180C /290˚F for 30mins until the pastry has risen. Half way through the cooking time if pastry is colouring quite fast you can turn the heat down a little, 170˚C to ensure the bottom will have time to cook before the sides are ready. Warm jam with 1/2 tablespoon of water in microwave for 2mins and with the pastry brush and brush over the pears. Dust with icing sugar before serving.