Truth be told, I’m a bit pernickity when it comes to Christmas foods. I don’t like Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or mince pies. I’m not a big fan of marzipan, I always steer clear of the sherry trifle and I definitely, definitely don’t do brussel sprouts.
So when I saw the little loaf suggesting these gorgeous dark chocolate and pear caramel tarts as an alternative to mince pies, I just had to give them a go. For the calories, I would much rather stuff my face with rich chocolate ganache and sticky caramel than heavily spiced Christmas patisserie any day.
Because it’s summer here in South Africa, pears are out of season but big, fat, vibrant, juicy berries are in. So I decided to experiment with the little loaf’s recipe and see if I could make a raspberry caramel instead.
I also made half of the pies with a white chocolate ganache, swapped the toasted pecan decoration for pistachios and eschewed the cinnamon pastry (cinnamon being another one of my Christmassy aversions) for one flavoured with ground ginger and cloves.
Oh my, this is an amazing recipe. These tarts turned out as delectable to look at as they were to eat. The idea of making a fruity caramel is oh so clever and there must surely be endless variations you could make on this theme. The white chocolate in particular partnered brilliantly with the slight tartness of the raspberries and the gingery pastry was crisp and biscuity with just a hint of spice.
So I suggest popping over to the little loaf, marvelling at one of the best looking food blogs you will ever see and taking down the recipe for these beautiful little pies. For my version, substitute the pears with 175g of raspberries. You may find the caramel is quite liquid after blending so return to the heat for a further 5 minutes or so to make sure it is really unctuous and sticky. These pies may not be traditional but I don’t think anyone would complain about finding these gems on the table this Christmas.