Anyway, once home again, and never ready to let go of being somewhere I’ve fallen in love with, I wanted to make something that reminded me of how Barcelona tasted. Chocolate and saffron had to be part of things. Add that to the fact I’ve been dying to figure out how to do a vegan version of a frangipane tart, and here’s where things ended up after dinner on the weekend…
Saffron Poached Pear & Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart
Chocolate Pastry for 1 x 28cm tart
1 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
3 teaspoons rapadura sugar
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/3 cup cold coconut oil
60 ml iced water
Saffron Poached Pears
3 pears, peeled, halved and cored
good pinch of saffron threads
2 cups water
1 cup natural sugar (not rapadura as it will make the colour too dark)
Dark Chocolate Frangipane
2 1/4 cups almonds
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
100g dark chocolate, shaved
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
200g rapadura sugar
150g coconut oil, at room temperature
3 tablespoons egg replacer* in 6 tablespoons of water
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
To poach the pears, simply bring the saffron and sugar to a boil in the water and then add the pear halves. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but not falling apart. Remove the pears onto a plate to cool and reduce the poaching liquid to about 1 cup. This will be the saffron syrup to brush over the tart when serving.
To make pastry, prepare a fluted tart tin with removable base, by greasing it with coconut oil and a dusting of flour. I always line the base with a cut out round of baking paper too.
Add flour, sugar, salt, raw cacao and dark chocolate to a food processor. Blitz. Add coconut oil and blitz again, until you have a crumbly mixture, then with the processor still going, add in the iced water from the top until the dough pulls together.
You won’t need to chill the pastry at this stage. Roll the dough into a circle about 33-35cm and about 3-4mm thick. I always use a sheet of baking paper to roll pastry out and then it’s an easy transfer to flip it into the tart tin and peel away the paper once it’s in place. Press the edges into the sides of the tin and neaten any extra bits with a sharp knife. Prick the base with a fork and place the tart tin into the freezer while the oven preheats to 175C.
Bake the pastry case (no need for weights) for about 20 minutes, until it is set but not cooked through completely. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.
Increase the oven to 180C.
To make the frangipane, into a food processor, add the almonds and blitz until you have almond meal. Then add the cacao, salt, sugar and shaved chocolate.
Blend until you have a crumbly ‘meal’ and add the coconut oil, egg replacer mix and vanilla.
Pour the frangipane mixture into the cooled pastry case and smooth with a spatula to even it out. Place the pear halves, cut side down, in a circle across the top of the tart and gently push each half into the mixture a little bit.
Bake the tart at 180C for 45-55 minutes, until the frangipane is nicely puffed around the pears.
Brush the saffron syrup reduction across the top of the tart before serving.
*I make this egg replacer when I want something lighter than flaxseed, but feel free to use 3 flax eggs if you don’t have the ingredients to make a batch of this powdered form of egg replacer. This will make a batch that you can store to use beyond this recipe. To make it, mix together 1 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum. Store it in a glass jar for up to 6 months.