Pears and chocolate are a flavor match made in heaven. This Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Galette is the perfect dessert to celebrate that perfect pair!
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I’ve long used the formula of fresh fruit + frangipane + shortcrust to make freeform tarts, or galettes, to highlight seasonal fruits. Making a freeform tart liberates you from creating fancy crust patterns (in case you were feeling any #pieart pressure), and it streamlines the process too.
You might be wary of making shortcrust pastry from scratch. I know I was for many years—until I came up with the precise formula to make the perfect shortcrust pastry in the food processor. And by precise, I mean to the second. My foolproof recipe and method have converted many people who previously thought making pie dough from scratch was out of their reach, and I think making a galette is the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Learn how to make shortcrust pastry from scratch using the food processor. (Be sure to read the recipe below for instructions specific to this galette before you start making the shortcrust pastry, though.)
There are many reasons why I love lining galettes with frangipane. First is for the extra flavor it provides: frangipane is a dreamy cream made with ground almonds, eggs, butter, and sugar. You can make frangipane with different nuts, which allows you to add variety and switch up the fruit/nut flavor pairings. Second, a frangipane layer wonderfully soaks up fruit juices during and after baking, which means you get to enjoy all of it—instead of washing it off your baking sheet.
This Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Galette is an accessible, memorable, and rewarding baking project. Plus, after making your first galette, you’re likely to make it a regular habit. It’s easy and wonderfully versatile. Top galettes with berries in early summer, stone fruits in August, apples in the fall, and oranges in the winter. You can’t ever go wrong! Your belly—and your loved ones—will thank you.
Helpful Tips for Making Chocolate Frangipane Galette
Use flours you have on hand to make the shortcrust pastry: You can stick with all-purpose flour, substitute whole-wheat flour, or combine different whole grain flour varieties. Adding whole grain flour not only increases the nutritional value of the crust, but also adds wonderful flavor and texture. In the crust of this Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Galette, I used 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour and ½ cup (125 ml) buckwheat flour. This produced a darker crust with a nutty flavor that wonderfully complemented the chocolate frangipane I used as a base.
Go all-in with the chocolate: This chocolate frangipane incorporates both melted dark chocolate (for texture and flavor) and dark cocoa powder (for color). It’s worth using quality 70% dark chocolate in this recipe, as its flavor and silky texture will go a long way. As for the cocoa powder, I prefer using a dark variety—also called Dutch-processed cocoa powder—in all of my recipes, because it has a milder, yet richer, flavor and delivers a striking color. Feel free to substitute regular, unsweetened cocoa powder if that’s what you have on hand.
Or forgo chocolate completely: You could forgo adding the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to create classic frangipane (make sure to add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the frangipane mixture if you decide to go this route). Classic frangipane is just as delightful as a base for pears, or you can use it with any other fruit, from apples to berries.
Switch up the nuts: Classic frangipane is made with ground almonds, but you can also use ground hazelnuts (an especially delightful substitution in chocolate frangipane), ground walnuts, ground pistachios, or ground pecans. They all create a slightly different, but equally delicious, flavor profile. Try to find the best nut to match with the fruit you’re using. Here is some inspiration to get you started:
Almonds + ANY fruit
Hazelnuts + pears, strawberries, oranges
Walnuts + pears, apples, blueberries
Pistachios + apricots, peaches, raspberries
Pecans + apples, peaches, prunes
Choose the right pear variety: Firm pears, such as Bosc, Anjou, Bartlett, and cute Forelle are great toppings for frangipane galettes. They’re juicy and flavorful, and they keep their shape upon baking. Pears and chocolate are also a flavor match made in heaven! This Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Galette is the perfect dessert to celebrate that perfect pair.
For the Shortcrust Pastry: Make the sweet version of the Foolproof Shortcrust Pastry (adding 1 tbsp/15 ml) granulated sugar to the food processor along with the flour). If you want, use a combination of 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour and ½ cup (125 ml) buckwheat flour to create a darker, nutty crust.
After mixing the pastry together in the food processor, dump it onto a lightly floured working surface (the pastry will be very crumbly when it comes out of the processor). Using your hands, firmly gather the pastry into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Lightly flour the top of the pastry disk, then roll out into a 15-inch (38 cm) circle. Transfer the rolled-out shortcrust pastry to a round baking sheet covered with parchment paper (a rectangular baking sheet works too, but a bit of excess dough will overhang during the resting period.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
You can also make the shortcrust pastry in advance. If so, after mixing the pastry together in the food processor, dump it onto a lightly floured working surface (the pastry will be very crumbly when it comes out of the processor). Using your hands, firmly gather the pastry into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap the shortcrust pastry disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 3 days. Take the pastry back to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before rolling out to a 15-inch (38 cm) circle. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and keep going with the recipe—no need to refrigerate again.
For the Chocolate Frangipane: In a double-boiler, or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave at low power level, melt the butter with the dark chocolate, stirring until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the melted butter and dark chocolate mixture, then use a spatula to stir and incorporate. Add the egg and whisk until fully incorporated and smooth.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Slice the pears in two, lengthwise, then core (no need to peel.) Slice each pear half thinly almost all the way up to the tip, then gently press to fan them out.
Take the rolled-out shortcrust pastry out of the fridge. Spread the chocolate frangipane over the pastry, leaving a 3-inch (7.5 cm) border all around. Cover with the halved pears. Bring the edges of the dough up and over the filling, creasing it and gently pressing it down onto the filling as you go (see this post for step-by-step photos demonstrating this technique.) Once the whole border is folded, gently press own on the pears to push the fruits back into the fold.
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the crust with milk, then sprinkle the crust and fruits with coarse sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pears are tender. You should also see some of the chocolate frangipane puffed up and peeking through the pears. Transfer to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
STORAGE: Store any leftover Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Galette at room temperature under a cake dome or covered with plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the chocolate frangipane galette but make sure to keep it uncovered: this will prevent the crust from turning soft and soggy.
Did you make this?
Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.
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