*This post is the third in our Date Night In series with Chateau St. Jean. They (and we) believe wine and date nights are a great pair. This month we’re cozying up with their Cabernet Sauvignon with rich berry and soft spice notes that pair beautifully with my recipe for a Chocolate Tart with Poached Pears.
Recently I gave an interview in which I was asked something to the effect of “How do you avoid the stress of the holidays?” I understand that question, absolutely. There are so many extra things that make their way onto the already packed to do list and then there are all the things I feel like I ‘should’ be doing. Making crafts with the kids, bringing homemade treats to all the neighbors, buying the perfect gifts, saying a resounding YES! to all the parties, and decorating my home to rival that of a December West Elm catalogue. But mostly what I felt as I read that question was a pang of sadness.
The holidays and stress shouldn’t go hand in hand. I know, wishful thinking right? And completely naive perhaps. Money can be tight, family can be a burden to some and others may just not be particular into the holidays. I can empathize with that but what I love about the holidays, when they are freed up from expectations and ‘shoulds’, is that their purpose is to bring hope, joy and peace. What if we actively sought out those moments during this busy time? I wonder what I would say yes to and what would get a resounding NO! And can we all agree that we need to stop ‘should-ing’ on ourselves?
In seasons of great busyness our date nights are often the first to go. They quickly fall off the calendar to make way for another task we’ve deemed somehow more important than our own connection. This season I’m fighting valiantly to put joy above tasks, peace above stress, and a quiet date night with my husband above yet another trip to Target.
Now I realize this season is already a bit indulgent but I firmly believe that a quiet evening alone with your partner deserves a bit of fanfare in the form of deeply blushed pears and bittersweet chocolate. The enviable pears bath in a mixture of wine, cinnamon, star anise and sugar while hot cream turns a flurry of chopped chocolate into what Gabe deems “the best chocolate pudding ever”. The wine that dressed the pears in a stunning holiday frock reduces to a syrupy sauce for serving. Save any leftover sauce for vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate Tart with Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Poached Pears
Serves 6 to 8 (makes one 9 or 10-inch tart)
Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
1 recipe pie or tart dough
2 cups Chateau Ste. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 to 3 firm pears, peeled
Whipped cream, for serving
Chef 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch tart pan with the pie dough and bake until golden and crisp, about 20 – 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
Chef 2: In a small saucepan combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise. Add the pears then bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the pears are tender when poked with a knife, about 30 minutes. As the pears simmer gently spoon over the wine and rotate them every now and again so they poach evenly.
Chef 1: In another small saucepan warm the cream just to a simmer then pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for a minute, add a pinch of salt then stir well to combine. Carefully pour this into the tart. Let this sit until the chocolate is mostly firm.
Chef 2: Remove the pears from the wine and let cool slightly before cutting them in half. Carefully lay the pear halves on the tart. Drizzle the tops of the pears with the wine syrup.
Chef 1: Pour a couple of glasses of wine.
Chef 2: Serve the tart with a nice dollop of lightly sweetened cream.
These turned out so beautiful, the colour is unreal !
Thank you! They are so pretty even not nestled into the chocolate tart – but you know, why say no to chocolate?
i’ve been seeing red wine poached fruit everywhere these days, but i never get tired of seeing it! it’s such an amazing shade, and super festive.
Pear and chocolate tart is such a classic in France, but I’ve never seen it with wine-poached pears. The presentation is stunning, and the spice is so interesting with the chocolate. A saver.
What a delicious treat for Winter time! I have honestly never poached anything so I really should try this!
You should! Really not difficult at all.
I could seriously use a date night in with this gorgeous tart! It looks so luscious and romantic. 🙂 Here’s to allowing joy and peace into our lives during this Holiday season.
Inspired by your book, my husband and I have been doing date nights for the past 2 months. And what we’ve realized pretty quickly is that if we skip a week, we feel it. It’s a bit like exercising- you don’t realize how beneficial it is until you stop. So in spite of the fact that starting on Friday we’ll be playing host to families, and we have friends in town, and I’ve barely started buying Christmas gifts, we’ll be sitting down for date night tomorrow.
This tart looks gorgeous. I’m tucking it away for future date night plans.
Oh man, Allyson. This made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about your story. It’s totally like exercising – sometimes you have to give yourself a hearty pep talk to get there and then once you do it always feels so good.
Each year the stress of Christmas kind of passes next to me. I read about it, but it just does not happen to me 🙂 And it’s not because I’m so organised for sure, I think that I just like the whole idea of Christmas being peaceful and happy too much. Marry Christmas!
I love this so much, Marta. It’s my favorite time of year!
love the dual cook suggestion, this wine-chocolate pairing looks wonderful, beautiful photography too! thank you for sharing this!
Thanks so much, Sabrina.
Hi Ashley! Can’t wait to make this for my little ‘Gourmettes’ group next month. Do you have a favorite pie/tart crust recipe you use?
you two are just the cutest.
Wooow tasty lip smacking recipe !!!
Mouth watering recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Just wanted to reach out to say “thanks” for all the stuff you’ve been publishing lately at blog.
I actually tried this recipe you recommended and it was delicious.
Keep up The awesome work 🙂
Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and happy you are here!
Do you think this would keep well if made a day in advance? If so, you recommend refrigerating the tart?
Yes. One night in the fridge is fine. It would be best if you made all the components and then assembled it day off. Just gently rewarm the ganache in the microwave. The pears can be refrigerated and the tart shell left out wrapped well.
A really beautiful and elegant dessert – a real treat for Valentine’s Day!
This is lovely! My husband and I are both excited to try this in a couple of days. I very well could be overlooking something, I do have a question. I believe the recipe does not mention refrigeration, yet the video does. Do you recommend refrigerating this before serving – if so, for how long? Can we get away with letting it set so that it’s served warm?
Just until the ganache sets up.
This looks really beautiful and tasty.
Does the chocolate become hard that you need to bite into it? If not, does the chocolate get runny when you cut into pieces? Also, do you serve this at room temperature? So many questions but I would like to make this for a small dinner party without trying it beforehand.
YUMMY! The color of those pears when you cut them open….. GAWHA!???
lovely recipe! may i know how long can i keep the poached pear with wine syrup for?
I would never have brought these flavors together but this is brilliant! These photos are so beautiful! Can’t wait to try it!