My brother and I got a dog when we were 4 and 6, respectively – I found the following photograph while going through some of our old stuff at my father’s:
That’s me and Xuxa (her name), when I was about 9 years old. :D
My brother used to feed her just about anything – every time he was eating something, he’d share it with her, and that included bread, yogurt, and all kinds of sweets. But chocolate was her favorite. :)
She is no longer with us – my brother had a fever for days when she died – but I’m sure she would love these chocolatey tartlets. :D
Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets
slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
¾ cup (105g) all purpose flour
50g pure icing sugar
½ cup (45g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter, slightly cold, coarsely chopped
1 cup (200g) caster sugar
5cm piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
2 Packham pears, peeled, halved and cored
pouring cream, to serve
100g dark chocolate, chopped - 70% cocoa solids
100g unsalted butter, room temperature, coarsely chopped
½ cup (100g) caster sugar
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (80g) all purpose flour, sifted
½ cup (45g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
For chocolate pastry, pulse flour, icing sugar, cocoa and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and process until fine crumbs form. Add egg and 1 tablespoon water and pulse until dough just comes together – I used my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment.
Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, form into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).
Make the pear topping: combine sugar, ginger and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add pear and cook until soft (5-7 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, remove pear and slice each half lengthways – you should get about 6-7 slices out of each half. Set aside until required.*
Grease eight 9cm-brioche molds and dust with cocoa. Divide pastry into 8 even pieces and roll each piece between two pieces lightly floured baking paper to approximately 12cm in diameter. Line moulds with pastry and trim excess. Prick dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm and chilled (about 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 190ºC/374ºF. Place molds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven to 160ºC/320ºF.
Meanwhile, for chocolate filling, melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar to combine. Add flour and cocoa, whisking to combine, then whisk in chocolate mixture. Using a plastic spatula, fold mixture until smooth and glossy.
Divide filling among molds and bake until tops begin to appear dry (30-35 minutes)**. Cool slightly, turn out molds and serve topped with pear and cream.
* the pears turned dark as soon as taken out of the syrup – a sprinkle of lemon juice should solve the problem
** a friend of mine who tried the tartlets told me they would taste even better with a creamier filling – less time in the oven next time
Makes 8 – I used 9cm tartlet pans and got 11 tartlets (just buttered them well – did not dust with cocoa)