Perfectly sweet with a touch of spice, these Chocolate Stuffed Poached Pear Tarts are stuffed with a luscious, gooey filling, and baked atop a buttery, flaky, vol-au-vent style puff pastry case with a frangipane filling, and then covered in a sweet red wine sauce!
These poached pear tarts are a show-stopping dessert and always a crowd-favorite!
Updated: July 2019
This is one of the first recipes I shared on The Flavor Bender almost five years ago. And every time I make it, my husband declares without fail that this is the best dessert he’s ever had. Of course, he’s said that about a dozen different things I’ve made over the years, but it still counts for something right?
So I figured it was time for an update on these beautiful Chocolate Stuffed Poached Pear Tarts!
These chocolate stuffed poached pear tarts were also one of my first recipe experiments when I started university a bunch of years ago, and it was an instant hit! I still love making this every Fall, and it’s always a crowd-favorite.
The puff pastry base here is buttery and flaky, with a vol-au-vent style case, filled with a soft, delicious frangipane filling. Poached pears are perfectly sweet with a touch of spice and a delightfully luscious, gooey center. Then they are topped with a sweet red wine sauce (which is the poaching liquid reduced). What’s not to love?? This is one of those recipes where the whole tastes even better than its amazingly scrumptious parts!
It’s a show stopping dessert if I say so myself.
The first time I published this chocolate stuffed poached pear tarts recipe on the blog, I used a circle of puff pastry as the base of each tart. However, over the years I’ve found that using a vol-au-vent style pastry case made these tarts look even more beautiful. And the frangipane bakes into the little pocket in the pastry case, so you can add more of the filling too.
Old photo from 2014!
These poached pear frangipane tarts are perfect when the weather starts cooling off in the autumn. I meant to update this recipe last year, but never got around to it. Better late than never.
How to make chocolate stuffed poached pear tarts
Preparing the pears
These pears have been poached in red wine, orange juice and spices. This is an important step, since this gives the pears all the flavor.
I won’t go into detail about how to poach pears, because I have a very detailed post on red wine poached pears here. In that post, I share information like,
- Which pears are best for poaching
- How to prepare pears for poaching
- How to poach pears, and spice and flavor variations as well.
The pears for these chocolate stuffed poached pear tarts are also prepared the same way as in my red wine poached pears recipe, but you can use any wine poached pear recipe for these tarts.
Once the pears are poached and cooled down, their core is removed using a melon baller, in order to prepare them to be stuffed.
Preparing the filling
This filling is very easy to make.
Chocolate chips are mixed with chopped prunes (or raisins) and almonds, plus a little liquid. The liquid can be milk, or bourbon or wine (for a boozy kick for adults) or even a little of the poaching liquid. This mixture is then heated until the chocolate is melted. Mix well, and then the filling is ready to be used.
The frangipane filling is a delicious almond batter that’s baked into a soft cake-like filling. It’s a very popular dessert on its own, but even better when accompanied with fruits.
A mixture of almonds, eggs, flour and butter is mixed and piped into puff pastry tarts here to surround the beautiful stuffed pears.
Puff pastry vol-au-vent cases
I love vol-au-vent tarts. They are beautiful and elegant, and because vol-au-vent case forms its own “wall” as it bakes and puffs up, it’s a great casing for so many different types of filling.
It’s easy to make vol-au-vent cases at home. You can use store-bought puff pastry for convenience, or make your own puff pastry from my recipe here.
Here’s how to make vol-au-vent tart cases for these chocolate stuffed poached pear tarts
I made 4 poached pear tarts for this post, and I used eight, 4 or 5 inch circles of puff pastry for these 4 tarts. Four of the circles are the bases for the four tarts.
Next, take the next smallest circle cutter (3 inch cutter if you made 4 inch circles, or 4 inch cutter if you made 5 inch circles). Cut out a smaller circle from each of the remaining four puff pastry circles. Make sure you cut a well-centered circle, so that the edges are evenly thick. You’ll be sticking this puff pastry ring on the puff pastry base.
Next, brush the four puff pastry bases with egg wash, and carefully place the puff pastry rings on the puff pastry bases. Press down gently to make them stick (take care not to press too hard so that you don’t damage or de-form the pastry).
Keep them covered until ready to use. The vol-au-vent cases are now ready.
Baking the stuffed poached pear tarts
Then place each of the stuffed pears in the middle of each tart. Then pipe frangipane just around the pears as you can see in the pictures below, avoiding the puff pastry ring (if you pipe frangipane on the puff pastry ring, it won’t be able to puff up during baking).
Brush the pastry with egg wash so that you end up with a shiny, golden brown tart once baked. Bake until the pastry and the top of the frangipane are golden brown, and the frangipane is baked completely as well.
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Chocolate Stuffed Poached Pear Tarts
FRUIT & NUT CHOCOLATE FILLING
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1.5 oz 45 g prunes
- 1.5 almond slivers
- 2 - 3 tbsp poaching liquid from poached pears or milk or bourbon or regular wine
- 2 oz ground almonds
- 2 oz sugar
- 1 oz flour
- 2 oz butter softened
- 1 egg
- 8 5 inch diameter puff pastry rounds
- Beaten egg to brush the pastry
- Prepare the pears following this recipe for red wine poached pears.
- Once pears are poached, let them cool to room temperature in the liquid.
- At this point, you can remove the pears from the poaching liquid or keep them in the liquid and store overnight for up to a day in the fridge (optional).
- Re-heat and reduce the poaching liquid (leaving aside 2 - 3 tbsp for the chocolate, if using) and reduce the liquid until you have a syrupy consistency. Leave it at room temperature until you're ready to serve the pears.
FRUIT & NUT CHOCOLATE FILLING
- Chop the prunes into small pieces.
- Place the chocolate, prunes and poaching wine liquid in a small microwaveable bowl.
- Heat the chocolate for about 30 - 45 seconds at a time in a microwave oven, stirring in-between to melt the chocolate until nice and smooth.
- Roughly chop the almond slivers (you want to have nice chunks of nuts in the mix).
- Add the nuts to the chocolate and mix well.
- Let it cool down so that it's easier to handle.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until you have a smooth, thick paste, that is still soft enough to pipe easily, but thick enough to hold its shape (should not spread out like batter).
- If it's too thick, add a little more melted butter. If too thin, add a little more flour.
- Transfer the frangipane into a piping bag with a round tip, or a piping bag with a snipped end when you're ready to use it.
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C .
- Prepare the tart bases - place the 4 pastry circles on parchment paper. Using a four inch circle cutter, carefully cut out a circle from the middle of the remaining 4 pastry circles. You will be using only the outer rings.
- Brush the pastry circles on parchment paper with egg wash, especially the edges. Place the cut pastry rings on top of the bases. Gently press down to make sure the pastry rings stick to the bases.
- Prepare the poached pears - with a melon baller or a corer, remove the cores of the pears. This is easier to do from the bottom of the pears as shown in pictures.
- Fill the inside with a generous amount of the fruit and nut chocolate filling.
- Prepare the tarts - place the chocolate mix filled pears in the middle of each pastry circle.
- Carefully pipe frangipane filling around the base of the pear, avoiding the pastry ring on top.
- Brush the tops of the puff pastry edges with egg wash.
- Transfer the pears to the oven for about 20 - 30 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown, and the frangipane is baked through (a toothpick inserted will come out clean).
- Remove from the oven and brush each pear with reduced wine syrup.
- Serve on its own while still warm, OR with mascarpone cream OR creme fraiche OR a scoop of ice cream, with more wine syrup on the side to pour over the pear tarts. You can dust some icing sugar on top of the tarts as well. Enjoy!