For this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge Choclette of Chocolate Log Bog has asked us to combine cheese and chocolate. Well, I just couldn't resist using Choccy Philly (or Philadelphia with Cadbury as we seem to be urged to call it – at least in this country). This is a great product for knocking out desserts such as chocolate mousse in a couple of minutes and claiming that you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. Although I’ve not tried it yet, I have it on very good authority that you can also use it to make a remarkably easy ice cream. Anyway that’s enough unpaid and unsolicited advertising for cheese and chocolate companies.
I’m actually being a bit of a fraud here, because this dessert was dreamed up and largely put together by my wife. I don’t think there’ll be any copyright disputes, though.
This is, for once, a reasonably healthy little treat. The recipe will make 2 individual tarts.
For the filo pastry cases:
2 sheets of filo pastry, each cut into 4 pieces (this amount may vary, see below)
1 – 2 tsp butter, melted
For the poached pears:
2 firm but ripe pears – I really like Comice but there are plenty of suitable varieties available
Sugar syrup, made by dissolving 200 g sugar in 600 ml water over gentle heat
For the filling:
85 g Philadelphia with Cadbury (OK, Choccy Philly)
1 egg white
1 tbsp icing sugar
Apricot jam to glaze
First, make the filo cases. You can use any suitable mould but non-stick metal tins of around 10 cm diameter are ideal. (I’ve sometimes seen these sold as individual Yorkshire pudding tins). You need enough filo pastry to generously line each tin four times. Using 10 cm diameter tins, this will probably mean that one sheet of filo cut into 4 pieces will be enough for each tart. The sheets do vary in size, though, so don’t blame me if that’s slightly out. As usual with filo, once you’ve cut 4 squares for each tin, keep them covered to ensure they don’t dry out.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Very lightly brush the insides of the tins with butter. Brush a square of filo very lightly with butter and gently persuade it into the tin. Repeat with the next square, changing the angle you place it in the tin so that you get a rustic, irregular edge to the tart. Any corners that stick up too much can be tucked in to prevent them burning. Once you have four squares in each tin, crumple a piece of aluminium foil and place in each tart – it should pretty much fill the tart case. Bake the tart cases for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden. Remove the foil, allow to cool briefly then carefully lift the filo cases out of the tins. Gently dab off any excess butter with some kitchen paper and allow the cases to cool completely.
Now poach the pears. Peel the pears, cut them into quarters, remove the cores and rub with plenty of lemon juice to stop them going brown. Poach the pears in the sugar syrup, which should be just simmering, until they’re soft but not falling apart. Take the pan off the heat and allow the pears to cool in the poaching liquid.
Once the tart cases and the pears are cool, you can put the lot together. Place the chocolate Philadelphia in a bowl and beat it briefly to loosen the texture. Whisk the egg white to the soft peak stage, then add the icing sugar while continuing to whisk to the firm peak stage. Stir a spoonful or two of the whisked egg white into the chocolate Philadelphia to loosen it a little more, then fold in half of the remaining egg white. This will probably be enough egg white to give you a soft, mousse-like texture, but if it still seems a little stiff, then fold in some more.
Divide the chocolate mixture between the tart cases. Cut each pear quarter part of the way through lengthwise, fan the pears out and arrange on top of the tarts. (You may not need all of the pears). Gently heat a little apricot jam until runny and brush over the pears to glaze.