saffron pear and dark chocolate tart


It was Federal election day yesterday. For over fourteen hours, Australians around the country were scratching their heads, queuing, eating sausage sizzles and numbering boxes on white and green ballot papers. At 6.00pm Western Australian time, the last polling station closed as the sun dipped below the horizon. Counting began and we, the people, waited.

From a personal point of view, Aaron and I waited at our friend Manuel’s house. For the first time, we held a spur of the moment ‘Election Party’ complete with multiple televisions, a barrel bonfire, high carbohydrate snacks and plenty of soothing beverages.

applecab radishes

We lounged on outdoor couches as the media counted votes and seats, snacking on pistachios whilst commenting on the value of Australian democracy (for which, to clarify, I’m very grateful) and our strange Prime Ministerial candidates.

The most prominent were 1. Clive Palmer, an eclectic, singing oil and gas billionaire with an AU$70 million aeroplane, a replica Titanic and a Jurassic Park-under-construction, 2. Tony Abbott the lycra-clad, foot-in-mouth Liberal, 3. present Prime Minister for the Labor Party, Kevin Rudd the backstabbing ‘psychopath’, 4. Bob Katter and his ‘quality blokes and sheilas’ and 5. Christine Milne the self-professed Greens ‘underdog’. Ah, dear. Quality indeed (if you’re interested in further pre-vote commentary on this present election, take a look at Rob Pop’s excellent post on his blog, Humans are Weird. So good, as is this post-election blooper reel).


My food contribution was a platter of pulled pork rolls with extra chilli and pork crackling, all of which were inhaled in minutes with cold Coronas and earthy Shiraz. As rain started to fall, we retreated to Manuel’s ‘band room’ to play lego before eventually heading home at 12.30am (just kidding. That Duplo actually belongs to our friend’s child, Lorena. I just wish it was mine).

It’s now 9.00am on Sunday, 8th September 2013. We have a new Prime Minister – the Liberal Party’s Tony Abbott – a former Rhodes scholar, boxer and trainee Priest who wears lycra bicycle shorts, has three ‘not bad looking daughters‘, makes unfortunate media gaffes and smuggles budgies to the beach. Our previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has conceded defeat and retreated to the back bench.

pears peel

This morning’s media is full of the night-that-was, with rife speculation over the future leadership of the Australian Labor party and various candidates who failed to retain their seats. In the glare of the morning sun, other marginal candidates are up to their usual antics while I sit on my couch crunching through a bowl of almond granola, organic yoghurt and strawberries.

I’m unusually tired, bleary eyed and vague. I’ve also realised that half of this chocolate tart post has been consumed with political sentiment. Okay, let’s revise.


It’s been a very long time since I made a ‘proper’ chocolate tart. Brownies, yes. Flourless chocolate cakes, fondants, mousse and pavlova? Yes. But a pastry base, filled with chocolate ganache? I think it’s been about a year… the last significant effort being a luscious salted caramel and 70% cocoa tart that received rave reviews at a Summer dinner party.

This particular tart was made after I discovered a recipe by Matthew Evans in a recent edition of SBS Feast magazine (an occasional magazine-stand indulgence, due to its beautiful multicultural recipes and inspiring photographs). I immediately fell in love with the combination of star anise, saffron, pear and dark chocolate, lovingly wrapped in buttery pastry.


Now, as you well know… I struggle when following recipes. I’m constantly tempted to exercise my ‘creative license’ through adaptations, substitutions and omissions. This time round, I’m proud to say that I almost followed the exact recipe; my two modifications were: 1. the substitution of 70% cocoa dark chocolate for half of the specified milk, and 2. the substitution of 50% more Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva rum instead of the specified brandy.

I loved this tart. Every bite announces the bitterness of dark chocolate on the palate, softened by sweet, saffron-infused pear, notes of star anise, buttery pastry and the warmth of rum. It’s spectacular to present also; black-brown against soft yellow with streaks of fine crimson and powdered sugar.


Due to its richness, I’d recommend serving this tart in fine slices with a dollop of double cream or crème fraîche. If desired, you can also reduce the saffron-infused poaching water down to a syrup. It looks beautiful when drizzled onto the plate.


Saffron Pear and Dark Chocolate Tart

This tart takes roughly 4 hours to make. I’d recommend starting the day before if you can.

Adapted from a recipe by Matthew Evans, published in Feast, Issue 23 / August 2013


  • 230g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp raw caster sugar
  • 110g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1 cup (220g) raw caster sugar
  • generous pinch of genuine saffron
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 pears (Beurre Bosc or Gold Rush preferable), peeled, halved and cored
  • 200ml full-fat thickened cream
  • 10 star anise
  • 200g 70% dark chocolate
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 3-4 tbsp rum or brandy (to taste)
  • Icing sugar, to serve – optional

To make the pastry: place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor bowl. Process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolk with 60ml iced water. With the food processor motor running, gradually add the egg yolk and water to the flour mix; process until the mixture just comes together.


Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling.


When adequately chilled, roll the pastry disc out to a 3mm thick circle. Line the base and sides of a greased 24cm pie dish or tasrt pan, then prick all over with a fork. Place the unbaked pastry case in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees f). Remove the pastry from the freezer, then line the case with baking paper and pie weights, uncooked rice or beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove weights and paper. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the base of the pastry is dry to touch. Set aside to cool.


To make the filling: place 1L of water into a large saucepan with the caster sugar, saffron and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the pears. Bring to a simmer (if the pears start floating, weigh them down with a saucer so that they are fully immersed in the liquid). Cover with a cartouche (see image on right), reduce heat to medium-low and poach pears for 30 minutes or until tender (easily pierced with a knife).


Allow to cool, then cut each pear half lengthwise into two pieces.

Place the cream and star anise into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the cream to just below boiling point (small bubbles should just be appearing). Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 20-30 minutes.

creamstaranise sieve

Chop chocolate into small pieces. Strain the cream through a fine strainer to remove the star anise and any ‘milk skin’. Place back into a medium pot and reheat. Add chocolate all at once, whisking continuously until smooth.


When the mixture is glossy and lump-free, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brandy or rum. Allow to cool.

To bake: preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees f). Evenly spread the cooled tart shell with the star-anise flavoured ganache, then very gently lay the pears onto the surface in a circular pattern, as below (try and make sure that the pears don’t sink too much).


Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the ganache is just set. Cool completely before cutting with a heated knife.

Serve with double cream, dusted with icing sugar if desired.


132 responses

  1. Firstly, this tart and the spices sound divine. I find myself with a stash of roasted strawberries this afternoon, maybe roasted strawberries, lavender and star anise chocolate ganache tart?? As you can see, I’m as bad at following recipes as you are! Secondly, here’s Todd Sampson (of Gruen Transfer)’s take on election results: “Palmer in. Hanson in. Scott in. Katter in. We’re sorted!”

    • Oh my GOSH. The strawberry, lavender and star anise option sounds divine! I almost put lavender in this one but then I wanted to stay with the recipe the first time round (well, as much as I’m capable of, anyway… I love that you’re similar!). I love Gruen. I watch it religiously, and Todd is such an awesome political commentator (I like his t-shirts too, is that weird?). Great quote! xx

  2. Laura-not much I can say other than wow. This looks gorgeous, fancy, decadent and stunning. I’m droo,ing over your photos…I especially love the one of the pears! Omg! So beautiful. I don’t like pears, but I love everything else about this tart. Tarts are one of my favorite desserts EVER. I have a new tart recipe that is very different that I think you might like that will be coming up on my new blog. It is a No-Bake Cinnamon Spice Cheesecake Tart. Anyway, I’m in love with your tart here and love the placing of the pears!

    • Hello Brandi! Thanks so much for the lovely comment. I’m not a particular fan of pears either, but they go well in this tart for some reason. I think the spices and the dark chocolate compliment the soft, sweet pear perfetcly. I will definitely take a look at your cinnamon spice cheesecake tart… sounds divine (particularly from a no-bake point of view, yay!). Thanks again beautiful xx

  3. Oh Laura… if I hadn’t spent the past few hours cooking in the kitchen myself, I’d set to work straight away on this beautiful tart! It looks absolutely stunning – that ganache is so incredibly glossy and smooth! As for the election – it was really a matter of picking the least worst option! Ughhh, didn’t enjoy voting yesterday at all. I’m sure that this tart would make it all feel better though! :)

    • Aw, thank you lovely! Yes, eating something delicious definitely makes the bad a little more bearable :) Strange to think that all that campaigning and ridiculousness is now over though. New PM overnight. Would love to know what you made during the cooking process, I can’t wait to see your next post xx

      • Just a little Birthday cooking, including a baked cheesecake – though unfortunately nothing got photographed (except the B’day boy with his cake in the evening), so won’t make it onto the blog this time around… M :)

  4. Two things – first a great summary of the election. Anyone outside Australia must think we’re mad and its compulsory to vote for one of these!!! Secondly, I just got the sbs mag out from the library and thought – yum, yum I can do that. Love Matthew Evans and his life in Tassie so may try your two twists on the recipe for dinner tonight (a lot of chocolate though!) :)

    • Hey lovely. YES, it’s mad that we had to vote for any of these clowns. It would’ve just been amusing without thinking that one of them had to run the country… argh! Secondly, definitely try the tart. It’s divine (I love Matthew Evans too, I often think that I’d love to adopt his lifestyle). I definitely felt that it needed more booze than the recipe specified though… with the original 2 tbsp I couldn’t taste it much at all. There’s a LOT of chocolate but it’s gorgeously rich and indulgent when served in small slices with double cream. Good luck! xx

  5. Love your summation of our candidates for PM! You missed Pauline Hansen!
    I’m pleased to say as a resident of the seat of Melbourne, a proven hardworking local Green member was re elected, yaaay! The rest is just swings and roundabouts.😃

    • Ah yes, I did miss the legendary Pauline! To be honest she hasn’t really been in the media spotlight much over here in Perth. What’s she been up to these days? I’m glad that your local Greenie was re-elected, woop! I think our local member was also returned to office; he’s a Liberal party man who’s always been quite genuine and active in the community, so I’m happy. Will be interesting to see if the Abbott-led cabinet will actually change anything in the next three years. Thanks for the comment lovely! x

  6. It is not yet 8.00 on Sunday morning and my stomach is rumbling as I read this post Laura. I am very impressed with it. Lovely opening shot. I love how you resisted showing the full tart and tempted me in with the quarter shot. Beautiful.

    • Thanks Conor. Yep, I didn’t actually take any photographs after the cake had cooled until half of it had been demolished! The ‘part cake’ shots turned out quite well though, so I’m happy :) Thanks so much for the comment.

  7. Oh wow! This looks beautiful – and check you out with the stunning photos too! I always make savoury tarts but this sweet one sounds brilliant. Saffron and pear? Yum!! Great flavour combinations, as always

    • Aw, thanks lovely! I’m more of a savoury tart person too actually. I’ve made a few quiches and tomato/onion tarts over the past few months but this one blew all of them out of the water! Delicious. Definitely recommended for an occasion dessert! xx

  8. I guess there has never been a post about politics that had more beautiful food pics in it than this one ;-). The fact that Australians have a special kind of sausage on election days even made it to German newspapers, by the way.
    Your tart looks overwhelmingly beautiful, Laura, and so do the preparation and ingredients pics. I also just love the idea of having saffron and chocolate in one treat (and isn’t Swiss Lindt a wonderful chocolate?) – so, all told, I have to try this :-)!

    • Haha, you’re entirely right Claudia. Maybe it wasn’t so bad combining the food post and the political statements :) I can’t believe you heard about our sausage sizzles! I don’t know if that’s cool or just embarrassing! Definitely agree that Lindt is wonderful… it’s one of my favourite brands for baking (LOVE their baking range!). Thanks for the beautiful words xxx

    • Oh, thanks Dimple! It’s a combined effort between the camera and me! Cooking is the most important element though (as a food blogger) and you excel in that big time. The photography is a natural progression xx

    • Thanks so much Linda! I’ve been asking a few of the other vegan bloggers for ideas as to how this could be veganised… at the moment I’m thinking coconut cream instead of dairy cream, possibly with some Earth Balance (or coconut oil) in place of butter and vegan dark chocolate? I might do a bit of experimenting myself :) And yes, the star anise and dark chocolate was absolutely divine xx

  9. Mmm, that tart looks divine. I grabbed a coffee at Gordon Street Garage today and thought of you when I saw their bitter chocolate tart with mascarpone. We must go there to see if it is as good as yours!

    • Yes, we must Miss Elissa!!! Maybe on the weekend, we could do breakfast or something? Though I will have to bake you one of these tarts for a direct comparison. I’m still waiting for you and Dea to fix a dinner date at mine! xx

  10. I love the saffron infused pears, the star anise infused ganache, that buttery crust. There is nothing I don’t love about this tart, you wove a lovely story and the photo’s are gorgeous. So beautifully done!!

    • Thanks lovely. It was actually heaps of fun to make, albeit time consuming! I appreciate your encouragement. Still dreaming about your beautiful pistachio crusted cake! xx

    • Do it! Do it! I can personally attest to the fact that it was worth every bit of time and effort involved. So delicious. My husband thinks it’s ‘possibly’ the best cake I’ve ever made (he has a few in that category but it’s definitely an endorsement!) xx

      • Haha, yep… he’s pretty honest if he doesn’t like something (he’ll usually pause with his fork in the air and state something like, “I don’t like this as much as the other stuff you make”. Sweet) so I take the opinion on face value. Hope that you enjoy the baking process… I love weekend baking! xx

  11. Ooooh, this is a gorgeous dessert! (Plus, I love getting a round-up of another country’s politics… I’m in California in the U.S., and the only way I get to see news about someone other than ourselves is if I tune in to the BBC). I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a rich, rich, ganache-filled tart, but wasn’t sure where to begin. Looks like I have a definite starting-line now. Thanks!

    • Australian politics is quite laughable Chels. This election in particular. Did you look up any of the links? There are some strange and wonderful stories in there… I mostly picked the controversial aspects but trust me, there were many to choose from! Re the tart, definitely try this one as a starting point if you enjoy very rich, refined desserts. This one is pretty mindblowing when served in small pieces with coffee or dessert wine (or spiced rum, to mimic the infused ganache). The saffron and star anise definitely elevate it to the next level of divine xx

    • Looking for a good dessert recipe for our upcoming dinner club gathering, to use up some apples we picked up at the orchard — do you think apples substituted for pears would work well, or should I wait to make this with pears instead?

      • Hey Kat, I think that pears are probably a little better with the spices and dark chocolate. In particular, this recipe uses either Bosc or Gold Rush pears which are more similar to Nashi pears in consistency. Apples have a flavour, moisture and textural variance which may or may not work. I would probably try the recipe with just milk chocolate if I was going to use apples, possibly infused with cinnamon (in the ganache) and some cloves and star anise in the fruit syrup? Not sure if the saffron would compliment. Let me know if you give this a go with apples though, I’m intrigued!! x

    • I agree completely, saffron is a bit ridiculous in price (but then again, I understand why… if I had to pick the stamen out of every flower myself, I’d probably end up paying double to get someone to do it for me!). This was completely delicious. Make it… or even better, come visit me and I’ll make one for you! xx

    • The combination worked brilliantly! Better than I expected it would. The gorgeous saffron blush also looks amazing against the dark chocolate ganache. Aesthetically and gastronomically pleasing (my favourite kind of food!) xx

    • Haha, thanks heaps John! It really did have heaps of flavour. I had never thought of infusing saffron with pears before reading Matthew Evans’ recipe, but now I think I’ll be doing it all the time! Appreciate your comment as always :)

  12. Oh gosh thats true, with a country so big you have several hours of difference and that must be weird for election day! I just commented on Humans are Weird that fact that here in Spain I had to once sit on the electoral table for the elections and it was one of the worst days of my life. I can’t imagine prolonging it 3 hours more.
    Apart from my electorate blues, I wish to say that this cake looks fantastic!

    • Very true Sofia. The eastern states had been counting votes for 2-3 hours before the last polling stations closed on the west side. Australia is a very big country but pretty much everyone lives on the coastline. There’s a lot of variance between the states. Wow… can’t believe that you were on the electoral table! I can imagine that it must’ve been quite tedious. I found it bad enough to be watching the election on TV for a few hours :) Thanks for the lovely words xx

      • Yeah, here in Spain you dont sign up to be on the table. YOu are unfortunately chosen. You are there from 7am till whatever pm at night when you finish counting (1am in my case) they did not serve any food nor give anytime to go off for a minute (so an Australian friend of mine came over and got me a coke and some food just so I wouldnt faint). And you hardly get paid anything. And its boring… But I’ve lived to tell the tale :)

      • Poor Spanish civilians! I think the only thing we can be chosen for here is ‘jury duty’… and I haven’t been called up for that yet. It’s ridiculous that they don’t even give you a snack or drink. That’s a basic human need! Thank goodness you had a friend available! xx

  13. I could have done with a slice of your gorgeous tart after standing in line at the polling booth for 45 minutes waiting for my turn to exercise my democratic right. Oh, and I see you had your own Rum Rebellion… good for you :)

    • Hahaaa, ‘rum rebellion’. I love it. Definitely agree that food would have made the voting process a little easier. The school where I voted had a cake stall on the day. I should’ve bought a lamington, darn it! xx

    • Aw, thank you Ruby! It was actually lots of fun to make… the beautiful colours and the shiny ganache were a pleasure! You’ll love it if you enjoy spice and rich chocolate goodness! xx

  14. I’ve just recently borrowed a book by GU (won’t copy and paste their actual name from their website online as it’s trademark protected) and a ganache tart is possibly on the agenda for later this month. Hmm, it’s so long since I’ve used the library it’s a case of checking books out auto. Anyway, I’ve never made a ganache before so I’m curious as to why people love ’em so much. Pears with saffron? Now you’ve got me. I was toying with the idea of saffron as this months feature. Instead, it might just be chocolate and jams!
    – Some lovely photos, btw :) And you don’t seem to be having the same probs with yellow light. Probably ‘cos you made this during the day! Doh, it’s late.

    • It’s been ages since I visited the library too Johnny. Quite sad, actually, as I used to be there all the time (prior to the dawn of the internet!). As for ganache… well, I have a feeling that you may not like it very much. It’s very rich, intensely chocolatey, smooth and dense. I use dark bittersweet chocolate which reduces the sweetness but it also increases the intensity. Eaten in thin pieces with double cream, I think ganache tart is divine, but you need to love chocolate. The pears on the other hand, they were amazing! I might make them with a crumble next time. And yep, the seasons are changing here now so there’s more light in the evenings. I took the header shots on a Saturday, about 11.00am. Dastardly yellow light, I hate it!

    • Aw, thank you Anna May. It’s lovely to hear from you! The tart was definitely beautiful. Very, very rich but delicious in small slices with some double cream. I appreciate you taking the time to comment xx

    • Thank you lovely. I never used to like pear in chocolate (or just pears in general… they’re not my favourite) but it’s grown on me. Try this tart and see whether it changes your mind! x

  15. Election parties would bring out such not-friendly controversy here, it’s best we all stick to ourselves during those days, lol! But pear and chocolate, that is a pair that can bring people together, in the best possible way! This is an amazing recipe Laura! It’s been a while since I made something similar. Love it. Oh, and let’s not forget that pulled pork!

    • Haha, I definitely know what you mean Paula! Some Australians hold strict political views (with intolerance of other opinions!!) also, but the majority of us are pretty easygoing and just enjoy the ridiculous showmanship that is Australian politics :) Pears and chocolate are a match made in heaven, aren’t they? I love the gorgeous contrast in colour and texture. This one was very delicious but time-consuming to make. Worth it upon tasting though! xxx

  16. Laura, You are amazing and brilliant. Not only you have exhibited beautiful menu, this tart is so decadent and perfectly made that I am in awe. And then your photography and idea and craft behind it… again, amazing and brilliant! Wow!

    • Thank you Stefano my friend! Have you tried the First Drop yet? Your comments on the photography mean a lot, seeing as you know so much more than I do. Argh, now I’ve started with a DSLR I’ve realised how difficult manual settings can be!!

    • Aw, thank you lovely Celeste. As I mentioned to one of the other vegan commenters, I’d be interested to know if you think you could veganise it! I can imagine using coconut cream instead of dairy cream, with 100% cocoa butter chocolate (not the milk as specified) and maybe some Earth Balance in the pastry? Hm. What do you think? xx

  17. This is such a beautiful tart, Laura. I can here the oohs and aahs of the guests seated round the table — and they haven’t even tasted it yet! It has such a nice combination of flavors. This is one very special tart, as is this post with your stunning photography.

    • Thanks so much John. It always means a lot to receive encouragement from a seasoned cook like yourself! Was lots of fun to make, despite the time involved. Great way to spend an afternoon :)

  18. From what I’ve seen, politics in Australia seem to have at least some semblance of civility. I’m surprised a fist fight hasn’t broken out on the Senate floor here in the past few years. There’s a lot of hard feelings from a lot of people.

    However, the idea of having sausage sizzles is simply capital. We should have those in November. Maybe some garlic knockwurst with sauerkraut. Yeah, that would be awesome. :)

    • Yes, you’re right. There’s a certain level of civility that is maintained within the more conservative parties. There’s plenty of backstabbing behind the scenes though, I’m sure! You may have heard of the Labor leadership challenges between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard (previous Labor government) over the past few months. Betrayal, lies, constant intra-party conflict, rumours etc… I’m sure it was a key element of Labor’s eventual demise. Sorry to hear that politics is so dirty over there. We do get certain information fed through the media about United States elections but it generally comes with a huge amount of bias. I thought that the celebrity-endorsed advertisements for Barack Obama in the last election were interesting (interesting as in… um, surprising?). We’d never get anything like that over here (it wouldn’t be seen as credible in a political sense). As for the sausage sizzles… YES. You should introduce them over there!!! It’s the best part of queuing to vote. We tend to have boring old beef sausages and tomato sauce/ketchup in a hot dog roll though. Occasionally with fried onions which makes it a whole lot better. For the record: I love all kinds of German wurst, particularly bratwurst. Yum.

      • We don’t hear much in the way of Australian politics over here, as the media outlets pile news pieces from Washington all over us. I know there are some people who wouldn’t be bothered with anything else, which in my opinion, allows congressional representatives to maintain extremely aggressive foreign policies. Suffice it to say, if an American wants to know the political climate in Australia, then they would have to pick up Australian news feeds. I tend to get my feedback from the handful of Australians I know. There’s just so much to filter anymore.

        It’s funny you should mention celebrity endorsements for political figures. Certainly any person with a lick of sense would understand how worthless a Hollywood endorsement would be, but the less sensible? Their vote is worth just as much as mine. I’ve been arguing with others around here that politicians should not be elevated to celebrity status. Reasonably-intelligent citizens have actually argued against the notion. It’s totally destroying the constituent-representative relationship and creating more of an oligarchy. I really feel like it doesn’t matter anymore who I vote for, Federal and state leaders will end up doing what they please anyway.

      • Very interesting point about the individual ‘worth’ of a vote in the ballot box. Unintelligent and ‘donkey’ votes from citizens who don’t care can sometimes be enough to swing a candidate into office. Prime example is Ricky Muir, a member of the Australian ‘Motoring Enthusiast Party’ who is in the running to win a seat in the Victorian senate. Take a look at this link to see what a prime representative of Aussie political clout he is. He likes four-wheel driving. He throws kangaroo poo. He may get into office because certain citizens thought it’d be funny and minor parties assembled their preference votes.
        I’ve heard quite a bit about the parochialism of American media or within citizen groups in general. I hold certain views about American government that I won’t go into here, but… well, let’s just say that Syria is a hot topic of contention at present. In terms of Australian opinion, I think there’s an overarching opinion that American politicians are rather paternalistic and arrogant in their approach to foreign policy and intervention. It’s ridiculous that they parade around like celebrities. At least that’s one thing that Australian politicians seem to get right. Very few of them would elevate themselves above the status of ‘citizen representative’. That’s partly due to Australian culture in general (you might’ve heard of the hatred of ‘tall poppies’. Any arrogant bastard will be cut down to size within minutes). As for your last point though, I completely agree. I’ve reached a point of ambivalence, disillusionment… as all politicians have proven themselves to be liars over the past decade or so. They project certain policies into the social sphere during their election campaign but then they disregard them after the vote is counted. Democracy sometimes seems like a joke… but then again, I’m forever thankful to live in a free country at the very least (in certain countries we’d be skinned for writing this kind of commentary!)

      • Without going too far into the concerns of the NSA and PRISM, I’m glad I have a document clearly stating I have the right to free speech. Yes, that’s a card I like being dealt. History’s too wrought with violence to make people quiet.

        As far as the phrase “tall poppies” is concerned, I only vaguely remembered it from Aristotle’s account of Herodotus. I never knew the later developments, until I read up on it tonight. There’s little usage of Tall Poppy Syndrome in America, as everyone’s still on an enterprising angle. It’s still a race. It’s still all a big competition. In a lot of ways, I can sympathize with the Australian point of view, as nothing stings more than a friend you knew in the trenches that’s “too cool for school” now because he made some money for himself. They’re obnoxious. A long-time friend and I drove past a row of hoity-toity mansions one day and I said to him, “if I ever move into one of those houses, I want you to slap me.”

        From reading the skinny on Mr. Muir, I instantly think “NASCAR Dad.” I think you Australians have a less-than-polite term for his behavior, and if flinging fecal material isn’t bogan, I don’t know what is. It’s like us electing Larry the Cable Guy to the Senate, because hey, he couldn’t be any worse? Right, guys? ;)

        As for Syria, I’ll tell you flat out this is the first time in my life I’ve seen many Americans here in the fields opposed to military action. My area has been very pro-Army for decades (see my post with the county fair pictures), and even they aren’t rattling their sabers right now. That’s saying a lot, because back in 2001-2002 they were practically spitting bullets. I can remember seeing a truck with a message along the lines of “turn their cities into glass” handwritten on it. Today, a huge amount of Americans are saying “please don’t” and the Federal government responds with “shut up, we know what’s good for you.” It’s a little exasperating to say the least.

      • I agree completely about the free speech aspect. It’s a democratic right that I’m grateful for on a daily basis. Re tall poppies, it’s a school of thought that appears to have been maintained within egalitarian Australia since the Great Depression. Some humble ‘rags to riches’ stories are still valued, but other than that most affluent or high-exposure personalities are cut down to size by citizens / the media on a daily basis. Aussies are very into insults as a term of endearment also. We slam each other verbally all the time; it’s part of the accepted culture, like it or not.
        I LOVE the ‘NASCAR Dad’ description of Mr Muir! Hahahaa! Yeah we definitely have lots of not-so-nice descriptives for his type, starting with bogan or ‘cashed up bogan’. They’re being battered around on public radio at the moment, alongside snippets from his roo poo video. Idiot. I hear that the senate are thinking of revising our voting preference system to prevent something like this from happening again.
        Wow. I can’t imagine living a pro-Army climate, particularly in reflection upon America’s relaxed gun laws. You may be able to remember the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, Australia in 1996. It led to a nationwide National Firearms Agreement and a gun buyback scheme in 1996-7 led by Prime Minister John Howard. Since then only about 5% of the population have continued to hold firearms for either professional shooting or livestock purposes. I think it’s one of the best things that could have happened for our nation, crime-wise. One thing I will say about our new Prime Minister is that he seems to be a gentleman who listens to the people. We’ll see if I’m right ;) P.S it’s been good ‘chatting politics’ with you. I love an international dialogue on current issues, it’s always an eye-opener!

  19. What a fabulous spiced pear chocolate tart,…I know now, that I must love you, Laura! You always make beautiful foods that I instantly want to devour,…oooh yes! :) x

  20. What a beautiful and delicious sounding tart. The pears in our orchard should be ready to pick soon and this sounds like a wonderful way of using some of them.

    • Oh wow, I’d love to have an orchard (haha quite a big aspiration, seeing as we live in an apartment!). Definitely give them a go in this tart. A very worthy use of delicious pears, methinks! xx

    • Thank you so much lovely Nazneen. I appreciate your kind words. I am quite a spice obsessive at the moment. If all herbs and spices were removed from the world I’d be a very sad girl! x

  21. Wow that looks absolutely decadent, gotta have me some of that :) Great flavour combination I love pear and chocolate together. I used to follow recipes to the letter but now I just use them as a guide it’s more fun that way :)

    • Haha, you’re entirely right Karen. I’m the same, but I’m determined to use recipes a little more at the moment from a learning point of view. I’m starting to cook my way through Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ in an unadulterated manner. I reckon once I’ve done things ‘properly’ the first time, then I can play ;) xx

  22. Okay, to quote Donovan (maybe you are too young?) – I’m just mad about saffron. In fact, it is a future post for me. Saffron in my hot chocolate (along with rose petals, cinnamon, vanilla and hot pepper) is a fav. And now I have to try this tart. Unbelievable. … I love your description of Tony Abbott. Can’t wait to hear more from him!

  23. Spiced desserts…I so love them! The tart is absolutely beautiful! I know for a fact that I would be eating the individual elements even before they were put together,if I was making this tart. Love the pictures Laura:-)

    • Agreed, spiced desserts are SO much more beautiful than straightforward flavours. I’ve fallen in love with adding spices, flowers and floral essences to desserts. So delicious (that’s one of the reasons why I love your site so much!) xx

  24. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    Dear Laura,
    I am such a big fan of yours.
    Your photography is stunning . . . and your recipes divine.
    I always feel like I’m on vacation when I visit your site.
    I must tell you that the photos in this post are particularly exquisite.
    I might have to ask your permission to print the photo of the standing pears and the tart, so that I can hang them in my home ;0)
    You have such an incredible talent.
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    Have a beautiful week,

    • Oh, you are such a sweetheart Suzanne. Way too kind! Thanks for the encouragement though, I appreciate it so much as I am just in the process of learning this stuff for myself. I am an equal fan of your blog. Gorgeous, bright and inspirational photos. Realistic recipes too, which is one of the best things possible for a home cook! Thanks again, hugs xx

  25. Wow, this sounds like an AMAZING combination of flavors! Like, I don’t even know what to do with myself. I can’t even imagine how this tastes, but I’m sure it must be amazing! And wow, a whopping four hours to make this? Whoever got to eat this is super lucky!! Go you and your talented tart-making skills :)

    • Haha. Nooo, the perfect world would be if you were over HERE and I could give you a piece! Or, if I was in your rooftop soybean garden, helping to shell those little blighters before eating a gorgeous dinner of edamame (followed by this tart). Sometimes the world seems so small, yet so big! One day we’ll have a giant blogger party ;) xx

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