a Paris Wife’s Chocolate Pear Tart

I joined a book club a while ago and the first book I read for it was The Paris Wife.  Meetings of our club require food, of course!  It’s sort of a pot luck type deal.  Because we read a book set in France, I decided to bring something french.  Oo la la.  Right?  Now, this tart wasn’t actually in the book, but if Hadley Hemingway were to make a pear tart it would have been just like this one (I tell myself anyway.)

The Paris Wife tells the story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. I thought it was simply written (which is good) but wonder about this technique of taking a real life event, one that already has a fiction book written about the time (by Ernest himself no less) and writing another fictional piece from a different character’s point of view?  It worked out well in this case, the book is worth the read – but I sort of felt like the author cheated a bit.  How could these plot points not produce a good story?  They already did!  You can read what one of the club members thought here.

I will confess that I’ve not read anything by Hemingway yet and this book makes me want to do so.  I also will confess that the whole notion of living in Paris on cheap wine, in a flat with no bathroom and struggling to hone the craft of writing is a very romantic idea.  I’m signing myself up for that in my next life.

Ok, Tart time!  I found this recipe at Easy French Food, but had to Google around for how to make the shell and so I thought I’d just put the two together for you and save you some time.  This is deceptively easy to make and I think it would be fun to change up the fruit – raspberries would be beautiful and yummy!


a Paris Wife’s Chocolate Pear Tart
  • Crust
  • 1.5 Cups AP Flour
  • ¾ cup cold butter
  • pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup icing sugar
  • Filling
  • 2 cans pear halves
  • 12oz semi sweet bakers chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ sugar
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  1. Put all your crust ingredients into a food processor and whiz until the butter is finely chopped. You want to take care to not melt the butter, it should remain as cool as possible. Pour the mixture into a tart pan with removable bottom and, with your fingers, press up the sides to form the crust. Press it into the bottom firmly but not to hard - it will just slip and make a divot if you press too hard. Place it into the freezer while you get the filling ready.
  2. For the filling, place your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between zaps until melted. While the chocolate is melting, slice your pears pretty thin (1/4in or so) set aside. In a bowl, mix sugar, cream and eggs. Set aside.
  3. Your filling prep should take you about 15 min and in that time your tart shell will have firmed up. Take it out of the freezer and spread the chocolate over the bottom of the tart shell. This is a bit finicky, like icing a crumbly cake. The second time I made this tart I didn't even bother to spread it - I just drizzled it evenly over the bottom until it was distributed well. Once you've got the chocolate in, layer in your pears. Make em pretty. I just put mine in a circle but you could be more creative if you wanted. Pour the cream mixture over the top. Take care - you might not need it all. You want it to just reach the top of the pears - it will puff up a bit while baking, and you don't want all those pretty pears to be covered up. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 min or until the top starts to brown.


This tart is best served at room temp but you’ll want to put any leftovers in the fridge.



    • it’s funny – the plot of this book was interesting and I don’t know how much is truth and how much is fiction. It was worth the read just for the study of the format.

    • because you use canned pear in this recipe, they don’t change much in texture or taste with cooking. I don’t know if fresh pear would soften enough or let off too much moisture while cooking….I normally prefer to use fresh ingredients.

  1. Tart looks fab! I am toying with the idea of joining a book club but am not sure what to expect and how serious it all would be- I am not really a serious kinda gal, I like gin and tonic far too much!

  2. Do you think I could substitute fresh pears? I have a bunch I want to use up and happen to have the rest of the ingredients too. Also do you think milk chocolate would work, I have semi sweet but also have some milk chocolate I would like to use up?

    • I haven’t tried it with fresh pear – my concern would be that it would let off too much moisture as it cooks – I’d also worry that it wouldn’t have enough time to cook through and soften. I suppose if your pears were super ripe they would be soft enough. But there’s still the moisture issue. If you try it and it works let me know!!

      As for chocolate – I’m sure that would be fine. I don’t like things super sweet and prefer dark chocolate…but if you like milk then it should work well.

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