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I’m coming in late to the Pie Party (sorry!) but I wanted to share this because it truly is heavenly. A rich chocolate tart, with soft, sweet pears – and a very gooey middle. In theory, you should bake your tart until the filling is completely set but the rich, oozing middle in this one defies all rules. It tastes too good to cook it any longer!

The pastry can, of course, be made by hand – but I’ve shown how to make it in the food processor, in order to make this super-easy. And it’s still light-textured, holds together, and a little crumbly when you bite into it.

Shauna, I love your idea of the Pie Party. Can we make it an annual event?!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 6–8     Preparation time 10 minutes, plus making the pastry     Cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 150g/5½oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 50g/1¾oz/¼ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
  • 50g/1¾oz dairy-free margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Pastry:

  • 75g/2½oz/heaped ¹⁄₃ cup rice flour, plus extra as needed
  • 75g/2½oz/²⁄₃ cup gram flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup ground almonds
  • 50g/1¾oz/scant ¹⁄₃ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
  • 80g/2¾oz chilled dairy-free margarine, diced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  1. To make the pastry, sift the flours and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor and blend well. Stir in the almonds and sugar. Add the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough. There should be a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually add 1–2 tablespoons chilled water. If too sticky, add a little rice flour.
  2. Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Grease a loose-based 20cm/8in tart tin with dairy-free margarine and line the base with baking parchment. Liberally dust a chopping board with rice flour and roll out the pastry into a circle slightly larger than the tart tin, to allow enough pastry for the side, then neaten the edge, using a sharp knife. Be careful as the pastry will still be slightly sticky. Put the tin, face-down, on top of the pastry and turn the board over to drop the pastry into the tin. Ease the pastry into place, pressing down carefully to remove any air pockets, then prick the base all over with a fork. Line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and cover with baking beans.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment and beans.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the pears on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, make 5 slices down each half, starting about 1cm/½in from the top. Leave to one side.
  6. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and rest it over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Add the sugar and stir in thoroughly, then add the margarine and stir until melted. Add the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in thoroughly.
  7. When the pastry is out of the oven, put the pears onto the base, fanning them out slightly if there’s room (it will depend on the size of the pears.) Pour the chocolate mixture over, taking care to cover all the pears.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes, until just darkening on the top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully put a plate on the top, turn it over, remove the tin and put a serving plate on the top. Turn the tart back over onto the serving plate. Serve hot or cold.


This is heaven in rich, dark, more-ish mouthfuls!  The secret is all in the eggs and the chocolate.  I try to use the freshest, organic eggs and a wonderful dairy-free dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. If you want a lighter cake,  just ignore the topping part of the recipe.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 10 minutes    Cooking time 25–30 minutes    Serves 10

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 110g dairy-free margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g dairy-free dark chocolate, with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 125g fruit sugar

Topping:

  • 150g dairy-free dark chocolate, with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids
  • 150g chestnut purée
  • 30g fruit sugar
  • 30g dairy-free margarine
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a deep 20cm cake tin with dairy-free margarine and line the base with a circle of non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large heatproof bowl. Rest the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir from time to time until the chocolate has melted. Add the margarine to the bowl and continue stirring occasionally until it is completely melted and mixed in with the chocolate. Remove from the heat.
  3. Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl and whisk using a hand-held electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until they form glossy peaks.
  4. Lightly beat the egg yolks in another bowl, then stir into the melted chocolate mixture until well blended. With a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the whisked egg whites until they are thoroughly mixed in.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the hot oven for 25–30 minutes until risen and cooked around the sides but still slightly soft in the centre. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if there is only a little of the cake mixture sticking to it, the cake is ready. Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Melt the chocolate as above. Add the chestnut purée and sugar and stir well, then stir in the margarine until thoroughly blended. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and serve with slices of the cake.
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