Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

4 Jan

It’s pear season!  Ok – yes, it’s pretty much always pear season.  Thought I’d share this slightly outdated post from our housewarming party that happened…last February.

I’m not a big candy person, despite my sweet tooth.  But there is a dark chocolate pear & almond bar made by Whole Foods Market that I have been crazy about for years.  The mild acidity of the pear really balances the rich and bitter dark chocolate, while the crunch of the slivered almonds adds some great texture.  I’m craving it as we speak!  I always see so many great recipes out there that are perfect for serving hot out of the oven, but I usually bringing desserts  over to other people’s places.  With us hosting, I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to serve a freshly-made dessert.  I came across this recipe on good ol’ Smitten Kitchen and it really reminded me of the Whole Foods chocolate bar I love so much.  Here’s the recipe as adapted from Smitten Kitchen!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, at room-temperature (room temp is important!)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3 pears, peeled, in a small dice (I used ripe anjou pears)
  • 3/4 C bittersweet chocolate chunks (60% – on the brink of dark!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs (leftovers from the kale salad ingredients?) and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. (In a professional Kitchen Aid, it takes at least five minutes; on a home machine, it will take nine minutes to get sufficient volume)
  4. While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (to prevent splatters outside the pan) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). Be sure to keep an eye on it.  It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the flame but keep in a warm spot.
  5. With the mixer still on, add the sugar in a slow steady stream to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
  6. Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn the mixture down to stir, and add the flour mixture and brown butter. Add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.

    Fold the Batter

    Fold the Batter

  7. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes, or til a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and serve warm!

    Place Chopped Goodies On Top of Batter

    Place Chopped Goodies On Top of Batter

This cake was STUPIDLY delicious.  It is not, however, a cake I would recommend making while you’re entertaining a lot of people after all.  It requires a lot of attention, and there’s nothing really other than dry prep (pre-measuring all of your dry ingredients) that you can do ahead.  It’s also not a cake that is great for taking somewhere as you want to serve it warm while the chocolate is still gooey.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

I’d definitely make this again.  However, I’d time it so that I’m throwing it in the oven when guests arrive since the bake time is long.  That way, we still benefit from a freshly baked cake!

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