Flourless Chocolate and Pear Cake

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Flourless chocolate cakes fascinate me. Soft peaked egg whites give the cake air and structure and the ground almonds create a delicious texture. In this recipe, pears are rested gently on top of the light cake and it is baked in the oven. The cake come out moist and delicious with a good chocolate flavour. The pears bake until soft but still hold their structure well.

I found this recipe on BBC Good Food. We've got a glut of pears at the moment since we harvested them from our pear tree and even though this only uses a couple; every little helps!

85g butter , plus 1 tbsp extra for tin
85g golden caster sugar , plus extra for tin
85g dark chocolate , broken into pieces
1 tbsp Sailor Jerry rum
3 eggs, separated
85g ground almonds
4 pears, peeled, halved and cored (I only used 3 as that's all that would fit)
icing sugar, for dusting

Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush again with more butter. Spoon in 2 tbsp caster sugar, swirl it around to coat the base and sides, then tip out any excess.

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, stir in the brandy and leave to cool. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the nuts.

In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you'll have trouble folding them in). Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut-side down.

Bake for 30-40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and serve


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