Pie with chestnut cream mousse, pear and tonka bean compote & caramelised hazelnut


Here is a homemade recipe for a gourmet dessert combining pears, tonka beans, chestnuts and hazelnuts. It will be perfect for a festive meal with friends or family in autumn or winter.

It is a dessert that takes a little time to prepare, but it is not that complicated! Find the step-by-step instructions below, and ideas for variations at the end of the recipe. Enjoy 🙂

Pie with chestnut cream mousse, pear and tonka bean compote & caramelised hazelnut

Servings 8
Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 1 20 cm round baking mould with removable bottom


Sweet shortcrust pastry

  • 120 g flour
  • 60 g soft butter
  • 45 g icing sugar
  • 20 g almond powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder or ½ vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch of salt

Chestnut cream mousse

  • 240 g chestnut cream
  • 25 cl full liquid cream
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 g agar agar
  • 1 pinch of salt

Stewed pears with tonka bean

  • 7 to 8 pears
  • 50 cl water
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 1 g agar agar
  • ½ tonka bean

Caramelised hazelnuts

  • 180 g whole hazelnuts
  • 100 g white sugar
  • 40 ml water
  • 10 g butter
  • 1 pinch of salt


Preparation of the sweet pastry (the day before)

  • In a bowl, cream the soft butter with a spatula. Add the icing sugar while continuing to work the butter.
  • Then add the egg, almond powder and vanilla and mix.
  • Finally, add the flour and salt. Mix gently without working the dough too much, you just want the flour to blend in.
  • Once you have a homogeneous dough, stop working at it. Shape it into a ball, flatten it slightly and wrap it in plastic film. Leave it in the fridge overnight.

Pear and tonka bean compote (the day before or on the day)

  • First, poach the pears in a sugar syrup flavoured with tonka bean. To do so, heat 50 cl of water with the sugar in a saucepan. Whisk a little to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil.
  • Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the core.
  • Once the water is boiling, add half a grated tonka bean (or a little less depending on the intensity you want), and place the halved pears. Lower the heat and cook for about ten minutes until the pears are soft.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the pears infused in the syrup for another 20 minutes.
  • You have two options here: either cut the pear halves into thin slices to garnish your cake, or make a compote. If you opt for the pear compote: cut the pear halves into small pieces. Place them in a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of tonka bean sugar syrup. Stew over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about fifteen minutes.
  • Then give it a few blows with a blender (using an immersion blender). Finally, add the agar, bring to the boil for 2 minutes, while stirring, then turn off the heat. Let the compote cool and thicken. Your preparation is ready.

Chestnut cream mousse (prepare at least 3 hours before assembling the cake)

  • Put two salad bowls (preferably stainless steel) in the freezer (or refrigerator by default) for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat 5cl of cream in a saucepan. Bring the cream to the boil, add the agar agar, stir for a minute, and continue boiling for another minute, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Take a bowl out of the freezer and beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  • Once the cream + agar agar mixture has cooled (after about 10 minutes), mix it with the chestnut cream.
  • Take the second bowl out of the freezer and whip the cream with an electric hand whisk to turn it into whipped cream.
  • Gently add the whipped cream to the chestnut cream (as if you were mixing in egg whites).
  • Then very gently add the egg whites.
  • Set the mixture aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Caramelised hazelnuts (prepare once the pie crust is baked – see below)

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  • Heat the hazelnuts for 5 minutes in a baking tray covered with baking paper.
  • Leave to cool for 2 / 3 minutes. Then, if you want to remove the skin (not necessary), you can put the hazelnuts in a cloth and rub them against each other (start this with the first third of the hazelnuts, take a second third and repete, and so on).
  • Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to over 110°C (measure with a food thermometer).
  • In the meantime, crush the hazelnuts very roughly with a mortar and pestle.
  • Once the temperature of the sugar syrup has risen above 110°C, remove the pan from the heat and add the hazelnut pieces. Coat them well in the syrup.
  • Return the pan to the heat over a very low heat, keeping an eye on it, until the sugar has melted completely and caramelised. Add the butter and salt, let it melt, and turn off the heat.
  • Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and pour in the hazelnut flakes. Leave to cool.

Assembling the pie (on the day)

  • Take the dough out of the fridge five minutes beforehand. Place it between two large sheets of baking paper and roll it out. It should be fairly thin but not too thin. Check that you have rolled out enough dough to cover the bottom of the 20 cm diameter mould and that you have enough dough left over to make the edges.
  • Cut out the base of the tart and place it on the bottom of your buttered or lined baking tin.
  • If the pastry starts to get a little sticky, put it back in the fridge for 2/3 minutes before making the edges.
  • Then make a ball with the dough scraps, and flatten again between two sheets of baking paper to make a long rectangle of dough that will allow you to cover the edges of the tin.
  • Gently seal the edges and bottom of the pie by pressing with your fingertips, then prick the pastry with a fork.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place a sheet of baking paper over the dough and cover the sheet with baking balls (or rice, or something else to put an even weight on the base).
  • Bake for 20 minutes, the pastry should be golden and cooked (you can check with the tip of a knife to see if it's cooked through, and possibly remove the weights for the last 5 minutes of baking). Remove the pie from the mould and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the pastry has cooled, place the chestnut cream mousse on the base of the tart and smooth with a spatula to distribute the mousse evenly.
  • Then carefully pour in the pear compote (or the sliced poached pears).
  • Cover the pears with the caramelised hazelnuts and chill for 30 minutes before serving.) Enjoy!


You can also make this recipe in different ways. For instance, instead of making a pie, make a first layer of shortcrust biscuit, cover the bottom of  round or square mould with removable sides, and put the chestnut mousse and the pear compote on top of a biscuit.
To keep things simple, you can also make “verrines”. Make large pieces of biscuit (shortbread or speculoos for example), put them in the bottom of the glass container, pour on top the chestnut cream mousse and the pear compote, and sprinkle with a few caramelised hazelnuts.
For the chestnut cream recipe, see here:
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: French

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