I have rather mixed feelings about autumn. On the one hand, days are shorter and darker and colder, heralding the rapid approach of my most dreaded season, winter. On the other hand, the trees turn out in their most glamorous and brightly hued foliage (a last hurrah before dropping their clothes for the winter?), the days are never too hot and the excellent autumn fruits are in season.
Tim recently handed me a recipe he found in the local paper that celebrates one of the best of those autumn fruits, the pear. The recipe was for a Chocolate and Pear Frangipane Tart, with the pears poached in red wine before being fanned out across a bed of chocolate frangipane and bedecked with reduced red wine sauce:
You can find the same recipe online here.
What did I love about this recipe? I loved the smooth, not overly sweet taste of the chocolate frangipane against the cool, soft depth of the poached pears. I also loved the gorgeous red wine reduction sauce on top - this is one occasion where I'd say don't skip the sauce, at least if you love red wine or dessert wines.
What didn't I love? The pastry was ultra difficult to work with - even after chilling for the requisite period, it quickly turned sticky and just would not come off the baking paper I was rolling it on. In the end, I scraped it off the paper in blobs and just mooshed it into the tart pan.
I served my tart not only with the red wine sauce, but with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, which helped to make it all a little moister and slide down the throat - brilliant.
This tart, although a little fiddly to make because of the number of elements, is quite delicious and well worth the effort if you have the time.