This delicious pie is currently sitting at the top of our All Time Favourite Dessert list.
The chocolate shortbread pastry can be eaten by itself. It is that good.
And if marzipan or almonds are not your thing, or you cannot get hold of them, then there are substitutes explained further down.
You can make the chocolate pastry dough either by hand or in a food processor. If making it by hand, you need to grate the marzipan, which is easiest done by freezing the required amount of marzipan first.
As for the pear and chocolate filling, it is truly delicious. And the tart itself tastes even better on Day Two.
The pie freezes surprisingly well, but I doubt there will be any left to do that!
SUBSTITUTES TO MARZIPAN
As for the marzipan substitutes. There are three possibilities. The amounts specified are what you need for this recipe, a total of 240g of Marzipan Substitute.
Firstly, for those not able to get marzipan and want to make the closest substitute, making a sweet almond paste is the way to go.
Sweet Almond Paste: 160g of finely ground almonds. These do not need to be blanched and peeled but you can, if you prefer. Grind the almonds to dust along with 80g of granulated sugar and then use in place of the Marzipan in the recipe, split into 140g for the pastry and 100g for the filling.
The second alternative is for those who do either do not like marzipan, are allergic to nuts or just prefer a less costly alternative.
NUT FREE ALTERNATIVE TO MARZIPAN
Nut Free Alternative to Marzipan: 80g fine semolina (irmik in Turkish), 80g icing sugar, 70g soft butter and 2 teaspoons of essence, either vanilla or almond. Split into 140g for the pastry and 100g for the filling and use accordingly.
ALMOND ALTERNATIVE TO MARZIPAN
The third alternative is for those who do not like almonds. In that case, hazelnuts are a serious contender and a wonderful accompaniment to pears.
Hazelnut Alternative: 160g of finely ground hazelnuts. These do not need to be blanched and peeled but you can, if you prefer. Grind the hazelnuts to dust along with 80g of granulated sugar and then use in place of the Marzipan in the recipe, split into 140g for the pastry and 100g for the filling.
- 140g marzipan or substitute ingredients as described in main text
- 200 g plain flour
- 25g sugar
- 2 Tbsp pure cocoa powder
- 150g butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 or 5 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
- 100g butter
- 100g sugar
- 100g marzipan, finely chopped or grated
- 100g dark chocolate
- 3 eggs
- Either place all Pastry Ingredients into a food processor and whizz round until they form a nice dough ball or mix them by hand, grating the marzipan and crumbling the butter into the rest of the dry ingredients and adding the egg yolk after all the other ingredients have been well mixed.
- Form a ball, place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel or cling film
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to fit a pie dish roughly 26 to 28 cm in diameter.
- Lightly grease the pie dish.
- Depending on the size of the pears, you might need 5 pears to fill your flan dish.
- Place the pear quarters in the base of the pie dish, skinned side down
- Melt chocolate very gently and add the butter to the pan once half the chocolate has melted.
- Once all is melted, remove from heat and add the sugar into the pan and stir.
- Add the finely chopped or grated marzipan to the mixture
- Finally, add the eggs, one at a time and whisk well after each egg.
- Pour the mixture over the pears.
- Bake in a 180C oven for around 30 minutes
- Test the pie with a toothpick or similar. It is ready when it comes out perfectly clean.
- Serve warm or cold, with cream, creme fraiche, ice cream or yoghourt.