Braided pear, chocolate and nut tart
- 100ml water
- 400g castor sugar
- 2 firm ripe pears, peeled and quartered
- 4 large eggs
- 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 80g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 20g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
- 75g cocoa powder, sifted
- 140g cake flour
- 140g salted butter, melted
- 1 batch of flakey pastry dough
- extra nuts and icing sugar, to garnish
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the water and 50g castor sugar in a sauce pan and heat over high heat, while stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil until a light syrup texture is reached, 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the pear. Cook while stirring for a further 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Beat the eggs and remaining 350g castor sugar until light and pale. Stir in the white chocolate, the nuts, cocoa powder, cake flour and butter until mixed through.
Roll the pastry dough between two baking-paper sheets to 45 x 10cm. Remove the top baking paper and carefully cut the pastry without damaging the bottom baking paper – along one long side of the pastry, make parallel 7cm-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 3cm apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made (see picture).
Spread the chocolate and nut filling down the center of the rectangle. Then place the pears evenly on top of the chocolate and nut mixture.
Starting with the top and bottom ‘flaps’, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom ‘flap’ up to cover the filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut-side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
Carefully lift up the baking paper with the braided tart on top and place on a baking sheet. Use an egg lifter if needed to assist. Bake until golden brown, 30 minutes. To serve, dust with icing sugar and garnish with the extra nuts.
Place a roasting pan with water at the bottom of the oven when baking. This is great served warm with a dollop of double cream or mascarpone. Be careful not to over bake the pastry to get a lovely gooey, melted chocolate inside.