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    Pear and Chocolate Dessert

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    Pear and Chocolate Dessert

    This gâteau is a combination of pears and dark chocolate mousse on layers of Bistefani Savoiardi Lady Fingers biscuits, finished with glazed pear slices. You can make the whole dish in advance.

    • Preparation time: 1 hour, plus 6 hours chilling
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 7 hours 20 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes

    Serves: 8

    Ingredients

    • 25g butter, for greasing
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 8 Conference pears, peeled, cored and quartered lengthways
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 6 tbsp Super Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
    • 200g pack Bistefani Savoiardi Italian Lady Fingers biscuits
    • 200g bar Waitrose Continental Plain Chocolate, broken into pieces
    • 100g unsalted butter, very soft
    • 5 medium eggs, separated
    • Pinch of salt

    Method

    1. Generously grease a 20cm round, loose-bottomed, deep, non-stick cake tin with the butter. Stir 150g of the sugar into a pan with 750ml cold water. Simmer this syrup gently until the sugar has dissolved.
    2. Sprinkle 16 pear quarters with the lemon juice to stop them browning, and set aside. Dice the remaining pear, add to the sugar syrup and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper - pour any juices back into the pan.
    3. Stir 4 tbsp Cassis into the syrup, add the reserved pear quarters and simmer for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
    4. Return the syrup to the heat and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Allow to cool, then brush a little over the rounded sides of the pear quarters, cover and chill in the fridge.
    5. Briefly dip the biscuits into the syrup, then use to line the bottom of the tin, packing them tightly together. Repeat to make a second layer, then set aside. Pour the remaining syrup into a jug, cover and chill.
    6. To make the filling, place 150g chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of steaming water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Using an electric whisk, beat the remaining sugar and unsalted butter for 4-5 minutes, until smooth and pale. Whisk the egg yolks, one at a time, into the mixture, blending well after each addition. Whisk in the melted chocolate until well combined.
    7. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk for 2-3 minutes until stiff. Using a large metal spoon, fold 2 spoonfuls of the whisked egg white into the chocolate mixture, then tip in the rest and fold it in lightly and smoothly.
    8. Place the remaining chocolate in a food processor and whisk until finely shredded. Fold into the chocolate mixture with the remaining Cassis. Spoon the diced pears on top of the biscuit base, add the chocolate mixture. Knock the tin gently on the work surface to settle the contents. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours.
    9. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before required, remove from the tin. Slice and serve with 1-2 pear quarters, fanned alongside and drizzled with reserved syrup. Alternatively, place on a serving platter, arrange the pear quarters on top, drizzle with syrup, and dust with icing sugar.

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    Cook's tips

    Select firm pears for cooking - they will keep their texture better.

    Put the chocolate in the freezer for a few minutes before you shred it to add to the mousse - this will give it a great texture.

    To cut this dessert easily, use a large sharp knife that has been dipped into hot water.

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    Average user rating

    3 stars