Recipe | Pear, Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake
Pear, Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake
Stay cosy indoors during these cold winter months and bake up this delicious cake. Rich chocolate and hazelnuts are balanced with soft, sweet pear for a heart-warming dessert or afternoon treat. This cake also happens to be gluten free, ideal for serving up to a group of hungry guests. Serve with Montalto table linen for beautiful texture and relaxed style.
For the Pears
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice of half a lemon
2 pears, peeled and cored
For the Cake
200g good quality dark chocolate
120g unsalted butter
6 eggs (separated into whites and lightly beaten yolks)
90g hazelnut meal
80g rice flour
200g caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Poach the Pears
Place 2 cups of water with the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the peeled and cored pears and reduce the heat to simmering for 10-15 minutes. The pears should be softened. Turn the heat off and allow the pears to cool in the syrup while you start the cake. Once cool, slice each pear into four pieces lengthways.
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease/line a 9 inch round non-stick spring form cake tin. Put the whole hazelnuts into a zip lock bag wrapped in a tea towel, and lightly bash them with a rolling pin until they are partially broken but still large pieces. Toast these gently in a dry, non-stick frying pan until they start to darken but not burn.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie, stirring and taking care not to overheat. Transfer the melted chocolate and butter to a large bowl and stir in the beaten egg yolks. Mix in the hazelnut meal and rice flour, followed by about two thirds of the toasted hazelnuts.
Whisk the egg whites using an electric hand whisk until they are stiff peaks. Continue whisking while adding the sugar in three batches. Gently fold this white mixture into the chocolate mixture in two batches.
Pour the batter into the greased cake tin and arrange the slices of pear on top in the formation of a clock face. If you wish the pears to sit on top of the cake instead, simply add them halfway through the baking time.
Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until just cooked. The top should have a crust and the centre should still be slightly moist as it will turn fudgy once cooled. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out. Once cooled, dust the icing sugar and sprinkle the remaining third of toasted hazelnuts on top.