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The Shed’s frangipane pear & chocolate torte

In just over two years Notting Hill’s The Shed has quickly become a staple amongst the locals and a must-try for any out-of-towner. At the helm of the beloved institution is brothers Oliver and Richard Gladwin, who’ve brought nose-to-tail cooking from their hometown in Nutbourne, West Sussex, to West London. The Shed’s Gladwin duo serve only the best seasonal produce, sourcing their supplies from their youngest brother in Sussex. Now that’s keeping it in the family.

Head chef Oliver shared with us his recipe for The Shed’s famed Frangipane & Chocolate Torte, citing his mother as the inspiration: ‘My mother used to make all sorts of marzipan and almond cakes and desserts. I claimed to have a typical childhood dislike of all things almond-based. I don’t know why, now I see that our Shed recipes are full of almonds, so my attitude has obviously changed. This glorious rich chocolate torte would not be the same without the zesty frangipane cream. Once you have tried it and loved it with pear, try it with ripe dark plums.’

The Shed’s Frangipane Pear & Chocolate Torte

For the pastry:
- 225g plain flour
– 110g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small knobs, plus extra for greasing
– 80g caster sugar
– 1 large egg

For the frangipane:
– 60g softened unsalted butter
– 120g icing sugar
– 1 large egg
– 120g ground almonds
– zest of 1 orange

For the chocolate and pear filling:
– 
225ml double cream
– 125ml whole milk
– 300g dark chocolate (approx. 70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into chunks
– 3 large eggs
– 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
– crème fraîche, to serve
– 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin

Serves up to 12

Recipe:

1. First, make the pastry.
Put the flour, butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and break the egg into it. Gradually blend the egg into the flour using a palette knife to begin with, and then using your hands to draw the dough together into a ball.

2. Turn out the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently into a smooth ball. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before use.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Then, line the tart tin with greaseproof paper and grease the edges to stop the pastry from sticking.

4. Roll the pastry out into a 30cm circle.
Carefully lift the rolled-out pastry into the prepared tin and pinch it into the edges using two fingers and a thumb. Prick the base. Crumple up a sheet of greaseproof paper, flatten it out again, and use it to line the pastry case. Fill with baking beans or uncooked rice; this is called ‘baking blind.’ Cook the pastry for 10 minutes in the hot oven, and then remove the beans and paper and cook for a further 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane filling.
Beat the softened butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, and then carefully fold in the ground almonds and orange zest. Set aside.

6. Once the pastry case is cooked, remove it from the oven.
Set aside the pastry case on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/gas mark 1.

7. Make the chocolate filling.
Heat the cream and milk in a medium-sized saucepan over a moderate heat. Just before 
the mixture comes to the boil, add in the chocolate and stir over a very low heat until completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs.

8. Assemble the tart.
Spoon the frangipane in an even layer over the pastry case. Arrange the pear slices in a Catherine Wheel shape on top. Pour the chocolate sauce around the pear slices to completely fill the inside of the pastry case.

9. Bake the tart in the oven for 40 minutes until set.

10. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of crème fraîche.

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