Tarte Belle Helene

Truth be told, in the interest of my expanding waistline, I don’t make desserts unless I have visitors these days. Last week, I had a house full so I made two French classics – delicious little ‘pots au citron’ and, as I had pears to use up, this delicious pear and chocolate tarte. Both were warmly received! It serves 6 easily and is best served just warm with a dollop of whipped cream or, better yet, vanilla ice cream.

Tarte Belle Helene


You will need…

  • A pack of sweet dessert pastry, I used a Sainsbury’s own make, you could make your own pate sucrée if you’ve got time on your hands : )
  • 3 ripe pears
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 25g good quality cocoa powder
  • 50ml milk

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Lightly butter a 25cm round, shallow baking tin with a loose base (the kind you might use for a flan or cheesecake). Roll out the pastry and, using the flan tin as a template, cut out a circle of pastry and line the bottom of the tin with it for the base of the tarte.
  • Chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, beat in the egg and the ground almonds. Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder into the mixture, fold together gently and then mix in the milk.
  • Take the flan tin lined with pastry out of the fridge.
  • Peel, quarter and core the pears and lay them round side up on top of the pastry – work quickly so the pears don’t go brown.
  • Spoon the almond and chocolate sponge mixture evenly over the pears – it will spread a little when it cooks but don’t leave any big gaps or uneven blobs of the mixture.
  • Place it on a metal baking tray on the middle shelf and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The sponge should spring back gently if it’s cooked. If it looks like the top will burn before it’s cooked through just cover the top loosely with a little tin foil.
  • Once cooked, remove it from the oven, place it on a rack and allow the whole thing to cool for at least 15 minutes before you remove the outer flan ring and the loose base. If you’ve buttered the tin evenly, it should turn out really easily onto a serving plate.
  • Dust it with a little icing sugar before serving.
  • In the unlikely event that there is any left, refrigerate and take it out of the fridge to warm up a little before serving again.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
This entry was posted in Desserts, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tarte Belle Helene

  1. Yum! This sounds delish!

  2. Mags Cav says:

    I made this and can vouch that this does taste fantastic. I’ll certainly be making it again!

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