Pears & Chocolate

Can I be honest with you? I don’t like pretentious desserts. I don’t like the bite size portions of something like vanilla custard flan topped with sweetened elderflower seedlings on a bed of bitter chocolate orange glaze or whatever. I find it weird and slightly twisted, like they are forcing together a jigsaw puzzle that just DOES NOT match!

And let’s be honest – the only thing I know about elderberries is that your father smelt of them!

– Monty Python 🙂

Anyways, as I continue my rant about these significantly tiny, wussy desserts, let me add one part which has always been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Pears poached in red wine.

I know, I understand that a ton of high class adults would be shuddering right now and Psycho’s high pitched violin is roaring in some of your heads but seriously. Ew.

Firstly the colour – pears are not red.  Nor will they ever be. That is why have apples remember? Secondly the flavour. Oh my, when I ate a little it was like the sickly sweet cherry flavoured cough syrup – it burns the throat and is disgusting! Thirdly, it was served with a tiny sliver which I count as a crumb, of chocolate cake. Now serving something so vile is just unjust and unforgivable in the face of chocolate.

22

Which is why, when I was flipping through the food section of Woman’s Day Magazine, I immediately latched onto a recipe of chocolate pear pudding. Just to prove to myself that fancy-schmancy shmuck was not necessary to put two delicious flavours together. And boy was I right.

The fact that the recipe was from Nigella Lawson, a cook who puts us all to shame, also persuaded me.

This recipe was delicious. A light chocolate cake was the perfect base for sweet, nice and ripe pears. The compliments of fresh crumby cake with syrupy pear was delish. Seriously. I made 1/8 of the recipe and ate it as part of my lunch. Good for me right?

I did make a couple of changes which were totally minor:

  • I used self-raising flour just because I could not be stuffed measuring 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • I only had 18g butter to use so I melted it instead of creaming like in the original recipe – I love melted butter because it is denser anyway
  • I didn’t use canned pears and didn’t even bother peeling my fresh one because it was just so ripe!

23A couple of suggestions:

  • I would sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on the bottom of the tin to caramelise the pears and enhance their sweetness’
  • Any fruit really can be used like strawberries (macerated – YUM), apples (add a tint of cinnamon to the cake to enhance chocolate AND apples) etc.

Enjoy Nigella’s delish dish!

Nigella’s Chocolate Pear Pudding
Source: Woman’s Day Magazine (no idea which month!)

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2x 415g cans canned pears (or fresh but must be very ripe)
  • 125g plain flour (or SRF)
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 150g butter at room temperature + extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp baking powder (ignore is using SRF)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • Chocolate sauce, to serve (I used my Hershey’s – yay for importing!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a 22cm square ovenproof dish with butter
  2. Drain the pears and arrange slices face down in dish until entire bottom is covered
  3. 14Put all remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until soft and smooth batter with a dropping consistency (I love this step! Never has a cake been simpler)
  4. Spread batter over pears until fully covered and bake on oven bottom shelf for approximately 20-25 minutes
  5. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to cool and then cut into slabs or unmold out of dish
  6. Serve with chocolate sauce (and ice cream in my case as well)

Nigella’s Quick Chocolate Sauce?
Mix together over low heat 170g evaporated milk, 100g dark chocolate, 1/2 tsp espresso powder and 150g golden syrup. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Reheat carefully in saucepan until smooth and warmed through.

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