5 October 2011

Flourless pear and chocolate cake

The pears are still plentiful, and this is a delicious way to use them. It's a proper, grown-up chocolate cake, which is just as good warmed, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, as it is at tea time.

Sometimes chocolate cakes can be a bit rich, but the pears in this recipe help to cut through the intensity of the dark chocolate, and using almonds instead of flour, makes this unexpectedly light and moist.

Flourless pear and chocolate cake
Serves 8

85g butter
85g caster sugar
85g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
3 eggs, separated
85g ground almonds
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Heat the oven to 180C, then grease and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and let it cool a bit.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick. Fold this into the chocolate with the ground almonds.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks (your bowl and whisk needs to be ridiculously clean, otherwise the whites won't hold. Also, don't over-whisk them - if you do, it can be difficult to fold them in.). Stir a third of the whites into the chocolate mix, then gently fold in the rest in two batches.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level it out a bit. Arrange the pears over the mixture so that they look pretty.

Bake for 40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before cooling completely on a wire rack.

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