Hazelnut, pear, chocolate tart

Pear-hazelnut tart

Among life’s most pressing philosophical questions is this one: When is frangipane not frangipane. We have a think tank, here at The Ordinary, entirely devoted to solving this riddle. Another pressing question…why am I so fascinated by frangipane? I don’t know! Frangipane is a sort of baked custard of eggs, sugar and ground almonds, at its simplest. (As I understand it! Feel free to correct me, if you know otherwise.) So, if you take the sugar out, and make it savory, what’s that called? If you add a little more flour than is customarily used, and rather than being soft and eggy, the custard has a bit of a crispy top, what’s that called? If you use hazelnuts, instead of almonds, what’s that called?

That’s what I did, people. I’ve experimented in the past with the delightful trinity of pears, hazelnuts and chocolate, in cake form. Well…*breaking news*…I bought a tart pan. I’m so excited! It really is something I should have had all along, because I’m such a tart person (sharp, bitter, sarcastic…). I used it the day I bought it, to make this tart.

We have a layer of paté sucrée made with brown sugar. We have a layer of bosc pears caramelized in rum, and then we have a layer of hazelnut frangipane (until somebody gives me another name for it!). The top layer was the slightly crispy on top kind, rather than the dense and eggy kind. This means that you can break off little pieces to have with your coffee in the morning, as well as eating a slice on a plate with lightly whipped cream for dessert.

Here’s Common & Mos Def with The Questions. (caution, might be a bit sweary) Why do I need I.D. to get I.D.? Why, indeed.

1 batch paté sucrée, substitute brown sugar for white

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips


3 or 4 ripe bosc pears, peeled and sliced about 1/3 inch thick, lengthwise
2 T butter
1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cups rum

In a large frying pan over medium heat, combine the butter and sugar. Once the butter is melted, add the rum. Cook till the mixture is boiling and the sugar is melted. Add the pears. Stir till they’re coated. Keep the mixture at a slight boil, and cook for about 10 minutes. My pears were quite juicy, so the mixture got thinner after I added them, then cooked to be thicker and caramelly. You don’t want anybody to break their teeth on them, so once the mixture seems fairly thick, you can take it off the heat and set it aside.


6 T butter, very soft
3/4 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and then ground very fine
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour. (If you want it to be more custardy, you can reduce this amount)
1 T rum
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla and rum and eggs, mix well.

Add the dry ingredients. You should have a thickish batter.


Preheat the oven to 375. Prebake the tart shell till it’s not so shiny and seems slightly set.

Pour the pears and all of their syrup in. Scatter the chocolate chips over the pears. Dollop the hazelnut mixture over the surface, and use the back of a spoon or your knife to connect the dollops and make the surface quite smooth.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes to half an hour, till it’s a nice toasty brown on top. Let it cool a bit before you cut into it.


3 thoughts on “Hazelnut, pear, chocolate tart

  1. I, too, am fascinated by frangipane – but in my case I think it’s just the name. Possibly because it sounds like frangipani, which I saw (and smelled) flowering in Madeira once. But perhaps just because it’s a lovely word.

    • TFD, you can be in our think tank.

      I believe that frangipane is so named because it was originally flavored by frangipani, which was so named because some king of France’s pastry chef was named frangipane and … wait a minute, I’m getting it all muddled. I’m going to quote wikipedia…

      “Frangipane/frangipani is derived from frangere il pane (Italian for “break the bread”), from which the noble Frangipani family of Rome derived their name in the 11th century. A certain Frangipane was perfumer to Louis XIII of France, hence the common name of the flowering tropical trees that are actually in the genus Plumeria.”

      I guess I got it all confused!!

  2. Pingback: Butternut tart with caramelized fennel | Out of the Ordinary

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