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Inspired By Inspiration

I don’t know what else I’m supposed to call it, but inspired by inspiration seemed appropriate. This month for A Taste of the Mediterranean we’re exploring tarts. Seeing as I’m asking bloggers to submit their own variations of this French classic, I thought I’d make some myself.

mise en place

My inspiration for this post came from Fanny, who had gotten her inspiration from Pierre Herme (aka Meeta’s sugar daddy). Sounds like a soap gone bad, I know, but it’s all about the food here (focus, Tony). Tarts usually have two components to them: a crust and a filling (and sometimes a topping).

This crust for is made from ground walnuts and the usual suspects: flour, eggs, butter and sugar (ie. the stuff that makes desserts desserts). For the filling I decided to combine roasted pears, half of a banana, and some ginger because the combination of ginger and pears makes me happy.

Then I thought of Italy. I know, quite random (and rude) if you’re making a French dessert, but I couldn’t help it. Let me explain. While I was in Italy last winter I tasted this chocolate pear torte that made my taste buds swoon. I wasn’t sure if I could recreate that moment in my own kitchen, but it was worth the try. In the end, my taste buds were quite happy. 

mash to your heart’s content

Once the pears have roasted with the vanilla bean, some sugar and ginger, it’s time you bring the banana into play. In retrospect, I would use either less banana or more pears just because of how powerful the flavor of the banana could be. Also, if you’re an eat-while-you-cook person like I am, I suggest you make more of this filling than you think you’ll need – it’s like gourmet baby food good. 

upside down mini-cupcake tin

I wanted to make mini tarts, but not too mini. If I would’ve used the inside of the mini-cupcake tin, the tarts would have been more dough than anything else. Solution: I flipped the tin over and made use of the bottom. 

scooping the roasted pear filling

The fact that the inside of the cupcake tin was too small turned out to be a good thing. Each tart ended up with a nice star design from the naturally crimped edges. 

chocolate heaven

The ganache is the last, but albeit most decadent component of the entire production. I recommend anywhere from a 60% to 75% good quality chocolate for this component. Since the pears and banana are naturally sweet you’ll want to look for a chocolate with natural bitterness to it in order to offset the sweetness of the filling.

a pool of chocolate

Once the hot cream melts the chocolate for the ganache, add a tablespoon of room temperature butter to the recently-ganached chocolate. This gives the tarts that shiny gloss that makes them so pretty.

ginger-infused roasted pear chocolate tarts

Top with a couple thin slices of crystallized ginger and you’re set. I hope this has inspired you to try out your own tart concoctions at home! igourmet is ready to give a $50 gift certificate to the winning tart entry – check out more info on A Taste of the Mediterranean.

Ginger-infused Roasted Pear Chocolate Tarts

approx 18 mini tarts

Components

  • tart dough, replace pistachios with walnuts
  • 3 bosc pears
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, 60-75%
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • crystallized ginger for garnish

Putting them all together

  1. Make tart dough and bake the tart shells (you can use the bottom of a mini cupcake tin or anything else you might have on hand).
  2. Cut pears into medium-sized chunks and scatter them in a roasting pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Over medium heat cook the sugar and water until you get a dark amber color. Swivel the pot, but resist the urge to mix with a spoon, this will help keep the sugar from crystallizing.
  5. Once color turns amber, add the ginger and 1tsp of the lemon juice to the hot sugar mix (be careful, it will splatter a bit) and pour over the chopped pears.
  6. Baste the pears while they roast in the oven and remove them once they are soft and you can poke them with a knife with little to no resistance (the time will depend on how large your pieces are, approx 25-30 min).
  7. Once they’re out of the oven mash the banana and add the remaining tsp of lemon juice. Cover the mixture and allow to cool in the fridge.
  8. To make the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer and pour over chopped chocolate. Slowly stir with a wooden spoon until all the chocolate has melted. Add one tbsp of butter at room temperature to add gloss to your ganache.
  9. To assemble the tarts scoop some of the pear filling on the bottom of each tart. Then cover with the chocolate ganache and top with slivers of crystallized ginger for garnish.

note: Tart shells and roasted pear filling can be made a couple days in advance.

Print

the best part about working with chocolate

Posted in desserts, French, recipe by Antonio Tahhan on January 14th, 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


21 Responses to “Inspired By Inspiration”

elra Says:

Superb idea!
Pear & chocolate always a good combo, adding ginger to zing it up is brilliant.
Cheers,
Elra

Mrs Ergül Says:

Oh no! I’m gonna work on this as soon as I have got time! Chinese New Year is just around the corner and major spring cleaning has to be done…

Well, nonetheless, I will try!

sharon Says:

Who knew that muffin tins were so versatile? Simply delicious.

Meeta Says:

you are a genius! this looks great. i love the fact that they are minis! so no one will notice if i indulge in an extra bite!

joey Says:

Delicious sounding tarts! And love how you’ve used the mini muffin tins to make the shell…genius!!!

Peter G Says:

Absolutely stunning Tony! The flavour combination is a real winner!

Núria Says:

Mmmmmmm que rico! Magnífico!!!! Look at all those little cutties! I love it Tony♥. Great combo of ingredients. Aren’t this beautiful mini tarts BIG?… they jump out of the screen :D . On top of that, you make things look so easy!
Una maravilla!

Peter Says:

I love your step by step recipes, easy to follow with always delicious results…Encore!

Hannah Says:

I love the way you shaped the crusts! Such a small thing makes a huge difference in the presentation.

Hélène Says:

Oh my! Lot’s of work but looks so insane. I love everything you make.

Maggie Says:

These look wonderfully decadent! I will definitely be giving your walnut tart dough a try.

suesse-mahlzeit Says:

Hello, I have found you via tastespotting. This looks very delicious and its very well explained! Thank you;)

Alejandra Says:

I can’t tell you just how gorgeous these look. Banana, chocolate, and pears are some of my favorite flavors so I imagine this would be glorious!

Fearless Kitchen Says:

This looks great. I really like the walnut dough.

Brooklyn Farmhouse Says:

I love the idea of walnuts in the dough – a perfect combination with chocolate, bananas, and pears! Inspired! Can’t wait to try – thank you!

Hayley Says:

These look incredible, and perfect for a party. I can’t wait to try these out. Thanks!

deeba Says:

What inspiration Tony…wow! Ithink the mini muffin turnovers is a great diea…thanks. Yup, I think I’ll skip the banana too. The roasted pear, ginger & ganache are indulgent beyond belief! Perfect!

Jeanne Says:

Oh. My. Word. These sound and look like little bites of heaven – just inspired! And the photos are wonderful as always…

Nate Says:

I have to say, your blog is inspirational. From the inventive mise en place pictures to the creation of the tart cups (that’s literally thinking outside of the box!), to that last yummy pic of your chocolate-covered finger.

Wow!

Lael Says:

I love how you made your own tart shells! I was just thinking as I was reading fanny’s blog and yours about how I wouldn’t be able to contribute to this contest because I don’t have a tart pan…hm, maybe I found away. If I don’t have time, at least it’s an idea I’ll keep in mind to use later! You’ve got a great blog. I look forward to coming back

Veronica Says:

OMG I love your method! it looks wonderful! I’m bookmarking this!


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