DARK CHOCOLATE, RICOTTA & GINGER TARTLETS with Poached Pears…& the Paper Chef #44 winner

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure…”
William Feather

What spells Fall? Longer nights and shorter days. Leaves just about beginning to change colour. More serious food choices coming forth.

Hola… September’s here, and with it Fall / Autumn in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Adios to the lightness that spelt summer. Stone fruits have been pipped by pip fruits, and the seasons first apples and pears are beginning to creep in. We’ve sadly said goodbye to the last of the stone fruits, plums were the last to go. There was a time that my heart sank when the mango season ended. That was 2 years ago…

Now, thankfully, with fruit having established a rather significant and central role in my baking, I actually look forward to a change in season. New boundaries to be crossed, new fruit to be experimented with… so much to look forward to. In addition, being on Twitter throws up endless banter, involved discussions, much more creativity & a new meeting ground.

When Ilva of Lucullian Delights asked if I was OK to be a judge on Paper Chef as a one off, I said YES! Didn’t know what it was all about, but heck, you don’t get called to be a judge everyday. LOL! If you are trying to figure out what I’m talking about, check my post here, and also check out the Paper Chef blog here. It’s a great creative culinary contest and is meant to be fun. Once I chose my ingredients, I felt very inspired to try something my self, so what if I can’t judge myself he he!

As judge, I got to choose 3 regular ingredients and a 4th one, which could be exotic, outlandish or theme based, whatever. I would have loved to go with outlandish, but with fall just stepping in, I chose to go with a theme. I thought FALL! Think fall, think deep serious cooking again. Warm and richer flavours, spicy aromas, hearty food, filled plates. Cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin, pie spices, roasts, steamy coffee, soups…

Before I take you to my recipe, I first need to pick a WINNER from the delicious entries our Paper Chef #44 got in this month. Judging is never an easy task, & this was no exception. I am always amazed at the creativity that a handful of ingredients can draw out of food bloggers. My ingredients of choice were Ricotta, Ginger, Dark Chocolate…& any other fourth item that spelt Fall! The entries for this episode of Paper Chef are inventive, creative and exciting. You can see in the round-up here. Makes one think out of the box… immense creativity and endless possibilities… Was tough to choose between so many favourites that were calling my name, each one of them very very special. I had to make the difficult choice, and eventually picked Ginger, Ricotta & Pumpkin Wontons from Ri @ Musings RI, a savoury entry to this round of PC. Creative, enticing & an early call to fall with roasted pumpkin making the 4th ingredient. Ri roasted the pumpkins herself, and even used the pumpkin seeds. Chocolate entered the dish by way of an intriguing chocolate-balsamic dipping sauce. As Ilva mentioned on her round-up, these are certainly ‘incredible‘. A creative & delicious result !! Congratulations Ri, I hand this round of Paper Chef to you. Well done indeed. Thank you Ilva, for giving me this rare opportunity to play judge. I enjoyed it immensely; it’s been a huge learning experience. Thank you also to all the wonderful bloggers who participated in Paper Chef #44, and played with my ingredients of choice. I am completely taken in by your creativity.
Even though I couldn’t be judged, I was truly inspired. I love the idea of Ready Steady Cook, Iron Chef etc, & the Paper Chef event was certainly fun. Went along this preparation without much prior thought, and thankfully the dessert worked out well. The kids lapped it up happily, & were ready for seconds (which they didn’t get!). The hub loved it too, though he felt it was tad heavy. I think hub has yet to make the transition from fresh & light summer, to earthy, deep autumn. One thing I might change the next time is reduce the ricotta slightly (bring it down to about 250gms), and whip the cream separately before I fold it in. Pumpkin puree with pie spice instead of chocolate might work some magic in here too, who knows?
Dark Chocolate, Ricotta & Ginger Tartlets with Poached Pears
My recipe with Paper Chef #44 ingredients
Biscuit Base
150gm digestive biscuits
1/4 cup clarified butter (or softened butter)
1/8 cup crystallised ginger
Run the biscuits & ginger in the food processor till like fine meal. Add the clarified butter & whiz again till it starts clumping.
Line some dessert rings or/and squares with parchment paper, & place on a tray lined with parchment paper.
Put about 1/8 cup of biscuit crumb mix into each, divided equally among the 8 rings, & press down to flatten into a base. I used a pestle.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. take out & cool on tray .

Ricotta chocolate filling
350-300 gms ricotta (I made mine out of 1.5 litres of whole milk/recipe here); drain excess whey for 30minutes
100gms dark chocolate at room temperature
6-8 slices of crystallised ginger
200ml low fat cream
1-2 tbsps of vanilla sugar if required

Blend the warm ricotta, ginger & dark chocolate in the processor till thick & mousse like. The warmth from the ricotta should melt the chocolate.
Add the cream and whisk again. Taste and adjust sugar if required. I added 1 tbsp of sugar. Blend briefly. You should get a little more than 2 cups of mixture.
Pour over the cooled biscuit bases, with the rings/squares still in place. Chill for 4-5 hours. Serve with chilled poached pears, drizzled with syrup.

Poached Pears in Ginger/Vanilla syrup
3 small firm, ripe pears, cored cut into 6 slices each
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean
1″ piece crushed ginger
Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pan & simmer for 15-20 minutes till pears are tender. Cool a bit. Remove pears to platter lined with kitchen towels to drain & cool completely. Chill until needed.
Reduce the syrup on medium heat until it is a thick & syrupy liquid. Reserve to spoon over tartlets just before serving. Can be used as an ice-cream sauce etc.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  • MaryMoh
    6 years ago

    that looks so georgeous….so decadent & so tempting. I wish I can have a scoop of it. Thanks for all the lovely pictures and recipe.

  • Barbara Bakes
    6 years ago

    Wonderful choice! How fun to be asked to be a judge. I love the weathered wood as a backdrop to your beautiful dessert!

  • Jamie
    6 years ago

    Wow! Hopping over to Ilva's blog to look at the round up. I so wanted to participate because I loved the choice of ingredients and I love Autumn cooking and baking. Your dessert is gorgeous, as usual, and sounds divine. Great job!

  • Happy cook
    6 years ago

    When i saw this in twipic, i knew i was going to make them.
    Will do for me and hubby as daughter don't like ginger taste that much, for her may be i will do soeother flavour.

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums
    6 years ago

    A wonderful fall fdessert! That combination of ingredients is absolutely delightful and so are your pictures!



  • Cucinista
    6 years ago

    How do you do it? An artist in pastry, you are.

  • GarlicBOSS
    6 years ago

    Deeba, I take several minutes to appreciate each photo. The are all inspiring. I want my version to look and taste as good as your photos…thanks

  • Purnima
    6 years ago

    Deeba, its stunning n creative! Ricotta of your own..WOW!Hv been peeping in oft, during vacation, not wanting to miss out even a post! 😀 I didn't! A Judge for the event n lovely pick of ingr. and winner too! Ur own entry is worth 1000+ wins! Hugs!

  • musing RI
    6 years ago

    Thank you Deeba! I am so incredibly inspired – I have enjoyed your blog ever since I found it on paperchef.

  • Michelle
    6 years ago

    OMW…does this sound and look decandent or what!

    Goreously Fab!!!

  • Bellini Valli
    6 years ago

    What fun to be a judge. This is truly a thing of beauty Deeba.

  • Kamran Siddiqi
    6 years ago

    Oh My! What beautiful Tartlets! I am compelled to make this right now! What lovely photos as usual! 😀

  • unconfidentialcook
    6 years ago

    How absolutely gorgeous!!! I'm so impressed, and I bet these beauties are so delicious. Love chocolate with pears…

  • Proud Italian Cook
    6 years ago

    You're my winner Deeba, this is beyond words. Your creations never cease to amaze me! You are a culinary artist!

  • Heather
    6 years ago

    Beautiful dessert – it's exotic; sophisticated. Love your blog.

  • Chow and Chatter
    6 years ago

    wow great entries and I adore you blog lol Rebecca

  • anna
    6 years ago

    Ooh so pretty and very fall-ish! Thanks for choosing such a yummy combination – I had fun participating in my first Paper Chef! And congrats to the winner! Looking forward to finding out the next ingredients – I'd love to do this again.

  • Latha
    6 years ago

    Hi Deeba,

    I came here to leave my feedback for the Almond apple cake. and look at the treats you've got in store. how fabulous.. such an exotic combintion of pears, ricotta (home-made man-o-man!!!) and ginger. i do hope to try it soon.

    The a.a. cake was such a treat. me and my 4 yr old boy baked together. he spooned the batter into the tin, arranged the apples so well and also sprinkled the topping. he's thrilled and i'm one proud mom:) thank you so much for the inspiration.

  • Snooky doodle
    6 years ago

    wow your imagination is beyond limits. This fall inspired dessert looks delicous and so nice!

  • Baking Monster
    6 years ago

    It looks soo good and I just happen to have a lot of pears on my hands and I didnt know what to do with them, thanks for the idea.

  • Helene
    6 years ago

    There is nothing you can't do. Those pictures are gorgeous, love the arrangement. That cake would be such a treat for me.

    Have a great Sunday.

    Hélène :)

  • Palidor
    6 years ago

    I love the fall weather. A chocolate ricotta tart would be a perfect dessert for a fall evening!!

  • Cakelaw
    6 years ago

    Yum Deeba! These tarts look delicious – and I am more than a little partial to pear and ginger.

  • 5 Star Foodie
    6 years ago

    Gorgeous tartlets! I love the addition of poached pears!

  • Eralda LT
    6 years ago

    I love the ingredients you chose for the challenge and I love the tart and the pictures…yum! Beautiful and delicious post.

  • Natashya KitchenPuppies
    6 years ago

    Oh my, what a glorious treat! I will happily eat your hubby's share!

  • MeetaK
    6 years ago

    just perfect! has a lot of flavors i totally love. pears, choc,, ginger and ricotta! this is sensational!

  • Parita
    6 years ago

    Love the blend of flavors here..awesome!

  • Cheddar Cheese
    6 years ago

    That's an awesome combination of flavors! Something never seen or heard of.

  • Arwen
    6 years ago

    I'm glad you're enjoying the change of season. The poached pears look lovely.

  • Eliana
    6 years ago

    What a great treat to welcome in the new season. This dessert is a picture perfect depiction of fall.

  • mimi
    6 years ago

    Beautiful pictures. I am sure the tarts are delicious.

  • chriesi
    6 years ago

    Wow! Gorgeous!!!

  • JennDZ - The Leftover Queen
    6 years ago

    This is honestly nothing short of AMAZING Deeba! All those glorious flavors in one!

  • noble pig
    6 years ago

    This is an incredible dessert…wow. These are some pretty yummy flavors to put together and the pictures are beautiful.

  • A_and_N
    6 years ago

    Its been such a long time since I came here! And boy, do I have to catch up or what!

  • Arlette
    6 years ago

    amazing photos, and delicious combination for a fall dessert…
    you are a creative baker my friend…

    I have something speoial for you on my blog.. check it out.

  • Nithya
    6 years ago

    The dish looks brilliant and drool worthy. :)

    Should say yours is one of the BEST blogs that I have come across. Brilliant layout with very very effective pics and recipes. Amazing job Deeba. Keep it going. Great photography. I am sure to be here often from now. :)

    Would be more than happy if you can take part in our event at http://www.innovativein-laws.blogspot.com


  • Kelsey B.
    6 years ago

    fantastic – I love these fall flavors! Also, let me know if you have another "mac challenge" I am up for it! :)

  • Geta
    6 years ago

    My name is Georgeta Cazacu, I am 57 years old and I live in the city of Bucharest, Romania, Eastern Europe.
    Only today I discovered your wonderful blog
    I have 2 Blogs:
    where I post recipes made by me, and

    I post interesting recipes copied from other blogs

    It is for wives of 2 of my boys to learn
    Therefore ask for your permission to post on my blog "CAIETUL CU RETETE" some of your wonderful recipes. First I will translate in Romanian.
    Of course that will leave a link to your blog.
    I hope you agree
    Hope to hear from you soon, have a nice day.

  • Laura
    6 years ago

    Stunning, Deeba!

  • Barbara
    6 years ago

    Beautiful photos and a fabulous dessert! Pears are wonderful right now and I love your combination of chocolate, ricotta and ginger. Delish!

  • Muneeba
    6 years ago

    What a divine combo of flavors … and so darn elegant to boot! Beautiful images, as always Deeba.

  • Jarmaine | Brochure Printing
    6 years ago

    It sounds absolutely perfect! I love that it's classy, elegant, different, but still with the comforts of chocolate! Nothing beats that :) The photos, priceless!

  • Lori
    6 years ago

    Just gorgeous. You have an incredible eye for beautiful shots.

  • Anushruti
    6 years ago

    This looks absolutely gorgeous! And without eggs a must try for me!

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