- Macknade Fine Foods

Winter Spiced Pear Tarts with Pine Nuts & Chocolate

A seasonal twist on the humble pear tart and a great alternative to mince pies this Christmas...

Overnight, plus 25 minutes to prepare
Serves 9
Print Recipe


If you’re not mad about rich, dried fruit, Christmas desserts can often be quite a challenge – pudding, stollen, mince pies – they’re not for everyone. We’ve taken the comice pear, in season throughout October to February, and given it a festive dressing inside a crumbly, shortcrust pastry. This little tart is much like a mince pie, only fresher, and we like to serve it with some brandy cream. You might like to do the same?

  • For the pastry:
  • 170g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 large free range egg yolk
  • For the filling:
  • 2 comice pears, sliced
  • Zest of one clementine
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla pod, scraped and split
  • 75g toasted pine nuts
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, stripped and chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted


  1. Begin with the pastry by rubbing flour and cold butter into crumbs
  2. Stir sugar through
  3. Add egg yolk and cut mixture with metal knife until incorporated
  4. Add a little cold water at a time to bring just bring dough together
  5. Wrap and store pastry in fridge overnight
  6. For the filling, slice pears and add zest, cinnamon, cloves, thyme and vanilla seeds plus pod and leave to infuse overnight
  7. When ready the next day, preheat oven to 180c/356f/gas mark 4 and grease muffin tin
  8. Roll pastry onto floured surface, reserving a small chunk to make pastry stars later
  9. Cut 9 discs of pastry and line muffin tin
  10. Cut 9 pastry stars from remaining pastry
  11. Blind bake for 8 minutes - you can use baking beans (or protect your pastry with greaseproof paper and use clean, spare coins)
  12. Meanwhile, remove and discard cloves and vanilla pod from pear mixture and stir in toasted pine nuts
  13. Fill tarts and add pastry star to each, brushing with a little cold milk to help browning in the oven
  14. Bake for 10 - 14 minutes (checking to see how they brown)
  15. Remove from oven and to sit for a few minutes before turning out on a rack to cool
  16. Drizzle with melted chocolate
  17. Serve plain, or with brandy cream (and don’t forget to dip any other fruit to hand in the spare melted chocolate)
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