When I woke up this morning, I had this eerie feeling that today would not be a good day. I’m not a psychic and neither do I possess the rare quality to observe the unobservable, but from the moment I opened my curtains I immediately knew that this awful hunch was a perfectly acceptable prediction of today’s weather. Looking outside it felt as if I had just stepped into a Harry Potter novel and I half expected to see a pair of dementors flying through the air. There was a stiff wind blowing, the sky had a menacingly dark colour and …Was it just me or were there really an awful lot of crows squawking like crazy?
Anyway, given my frighteningly correct prediction, I wanted to put a stop to this gloomy feeling before it got really out of hand. I baked a frangipane pie( the sort of thing one does when the dreadful weather represents how one feels on the inside). In my humble opinion a frangipane filling is the best way to smother those bad feelings with a golden layer of gooeyness. In the blink of an eye- with just one bite- your mood is immediately transformed from “I want to crawl back in bed and never come out” to “I am totally awesome. Let’s have fun and revel in so much awesomeness.”
Add to that wonderful frangipane filling an insanely decadent amount of chocolate and heavenly sweet pears soaked in boozy Poire William’s, and what you end up with is a total package of comfort. I took a large slice of this pie, snuggled down on my cozy couch and watched some Hart Of Dixie…
My eerie bad feeling was gone and all I was left with was a warm and fuzzy heart filled with glee. Admittedly, eating this delicious frangipane comes at a calorific high price, but who cares? This pie is what I call an emotional investment: once you’ve experienced the sheer happiness it brings, the calories will all be worth it.
Chocolate and Pear frangipane with Poire William’s
• One sheet of puff pastry
• 150gr butter
• 150gr sugar
• 50gr plain flour
• 125gr ground almonds
• 25gr cocoa powder
• 3 eggs
• 75 dark chocolate
• 2 large pears
• 4 tbsp Poire William’s
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 26cm loose-bottomed pie tin.
2. Peel the pears and cut into thin wedges. Remove the cores and discard. Toss the pears with the Poire William and let them soak for at least half an hour in the fridge.
3. Lift the puff pastry carefully into the tin, pressing firmly into the corners and sides. Prick the base lightly with a fork. Trim the edges with a sharp, horizontally held knife.
4. Put the butter, ground almonds, sugar, flour, cocoa powder and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and fluffy.
5. Melt the dark chocolate au bain marie until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
6. Spoon the frangipane mixture into your puff pastry tart. Drop spoonfuls of the melted chocolate on top and draw the tip of a knife through the mixture to lightly marble.
7. Arrange the pears around the tart, cut-side down, with the pointy ends towards the middle, pressing gently into the chocolate frangipane batter. Drizzle the remaining Poire William’s over the top.
8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and loosely cover the pie with a piece of foil to prevent the pie from overbrowning. Bake for further 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes and then carefully transfer to a board or serving platter. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar.