HomeRecipesPear, Almond, Milk Chocolate by James Satterwhite

Pear, Almond, Milk Chocolate by James Satterwhite

(This recipe appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

Pear, Almond, Milk Chocolate is a dessert that was inspired by the Tarte Bourdaloue – I wanted to use the flavors of pear and almond as a starting point for a new dessert. I also wanted to use recipes I have used for 20 years in a new way. The pears, frangipane, sablé Breton, almond nougatine and almond ice cream are some of the oldest recipes I have, and by combining them with a recent recipe in the flexible milk chocolate ganache, I found a new expression for those great recipes and classic flavors. 

Yield: 12 servings 

Oven-Roasted Pear

  • 900 g unsalted butter
  • 900 g brown sugar
  • 250 g rice wine vinegar
  • 2 used vanilla pods
  • 6 pears peeled, cut in half and cored
  1. In a pot, combine all ingredients except the pears and bring to a boil. Place the pears in a hotel pan and pour the liquid over the pears. Place in a 300˚F (149˚C) oven for 20 minutes, then turn the pears over and spoon the roasting liquid over the pears. Repeat this until the pears are tender. It is best to have a lot of liquid per pear, so if your pan is larger, you may need to make slightly more of the roasting liquid. (In addition to using this for pear halves, this may be used to roast whole pears as well.)
  1. When the pears are done, remove from the liquid and drain on a screen, then move to a pan for storage until ready to use. For service, cut each half into three slices. Transfer the cooking liquid to a container and refrigerate overnight to use for the Pear Caramel Sauce.

Pear Caramel Sauce

  1. Remove the pear cooking liquid from the refrigerator and remove and discard any hardened fat. Place the remaining liquid in a saucepot and reduce to a caramel. Let cool and place in a container for storage or into a bottle for service. (This will yield enough sauce for 12 portions plus some extra.)

Milk Chocolate Pliable Ganache

  • 400 g Valrhona Tanariva milk chocolate 33%
  • 6 g gelatin powder (200-bloom)
  • 30 g water
  • 400 g heavy cream
  • 1 g sea salt
  • 40 g glucose syrup
  • 2 g agar agar
  1. Melt the milk chocolate.
  1. Bloom the gelatin in the water. Melt in the microwave.
  1. In a pot, place the cream, salt and glucose over medium-high heat. As it nears a boil, whisk in the agar agar and let boil for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the gelatin, pour over the melted milk chocolate and stir to emulsify. Finish with an immersion blender. Pour the ganache into a quarter size sheet pan that has been lined with plastic film and then a plastic guitar sheet in the bottom. Place plastic film touching the surface of the ganache and place the pan in the refrigerator overnight.
  1. Cut the flexible ganache into the proper portion size.

Pear Gel

  • 250 g pear puree
  • 2.5 g agar agar
  • 70 g granulated sugar
  1. In a small pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then pour into a pint container and cover with a piece of plastic wrap that touches the surface of the gel. Refrigerate overnight.
  1. Mix with an immersion blender and place in a squeeze bottle for service.

Almond Nougatine

  • 100 g glucose syrup
  • 150 g fondant sugar
  • 100 g sliced almonds
  • Sea salt, as needed
  1. Make a caramel with the glucose and fondant. Stir in the sliced almonds and pour onto a Silpat, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Cool.
  1. When cold, crumble and either Cryovac or place in sealed plastic containers until needed.

Sablé Breton Crumble

  • 225 g all-purpose flour
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 160 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g sea salt
  • 80 g egg yolks
  • 160 g unsalted butter, very soft
  1. Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside.
  1. Using the paddle attachment, whip the sugar, salt and the egg yolks for 10 minutes, until very light and pale in color.
  1. Prepare the butter – make sure it is very soft and creamy (in French this state is known as pomade, and means butter that is as soft and creamy as a face cream). When the sugar-yolk mixture is whipped, add the softened butter a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Scrape down the bowl. Add the sifted flour in 3 stages. Wrap the dough in plastic film and refrigerate overnight.
  1. The next day, roll out the dough thinly (about 3mm), place on a Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake at 325˚F (163˚C) in a convection oven until golden. Remove from oven, let cool and crumble. Place in a sealed container until needed for service.

Almond Frangipane

  • 208 g unsalted butter
  • 208 g almond flour
  • 208 g granulated sugar
  • 208 g whole eggs
  • 41.5 g all-purpose flour
  • Sliced almonds, as needed
  1. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, almond flour and sugar and mix until completely smooth. Add the eggs slowly, maintaining the emulsion. (Once the eggs have been added, do not mix above low/medium speed.) Scrape the bowl well and add the sifted flour in 3 stages. Scrape the bowl well and store overnight in the refrigerator.
  1. The following day, pipe into small Flexipans, sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake at 350˚F (177˚C) until golden. When cool, remove from the pan and keep in a container until needed.

Almond Milk

  • 2000 g milk
  • 600 g sliced almonds, toasted very dark
  1. Heat the milk and add the toasted almonds. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes, then mix with an immersion blender. Strain through a chinois.

Almond Ice Cream

  • 1300 g Almond Milk (above)
  • 50 g non-fat powdered milk
  • 280 g heavy cream
  • 280 g granulated sugar
  • 10 g ice cream stabilizer
  • 80 g atomized glucose
  1. Heat the Almond Milk, powdered milk and heavy cream.
  1. Mix together the sugar, stabilizer and atomized glucose and stir into the warm cream-almond milk. Bring this mixture up to 185˚F (85˚C), then pass through a chinois into a container and chill for a minimum of 6 hours.
  1. Churn in a batch freezer and store in a container for service.


  • Small edible flowers
  • Chocolate mint
  1. Place the pliable ganache down the center of a plate. Place the 3 pear slices on alternating sides along the ganache, then place 2 small baked frangipanes on alternating sides. Place broken Almond Nougatine on the flexible ganache on alternating sides. Add the Sablé Breton Crumble, pipe the Pear Caramel and the Pear Gel on the ganache and add flowers and chocolate mint. Finish with a quenelle of Almond Ice Cream.

About James Satterwhite

James Satterwhite is the Executive Pastry Chef at Charlotte Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. He spends a lot of time improving his technique and looking for new ways to employ his core recipes.

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