Al di La’s chocolate pear cake

Posted: October 14, 2013 in dessert
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Last night Jimmy and I were invited to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving by feasting with friends over a wonderful potluck dinner. Canadian Thanksgiving is essentially the same as American Thanksgiving, only at a better time of year – a good two months till winter break and around the time when you start to go stir-crazy mid-semester at school. The hosts cooked a turkey, one of the best recipes for stuffing I’ve ever had, and my favorite thing in the world: apple pie. I never eat apple pie because I’m picky about how sweet the filling should be, how crusty the crust should be, so I was grateful to have had two apple pies this weekend that were just perfect. Jimmy made an incredible garlic mushroom casserole using a recipe he borrowed from his classmate (will post later this week) and I followed smitten kitchen’s Al di la recipe word for word. Anyone who knows me knows how difficult this is for me to do – follow desserts word for word – so this was truly a cooking success.
chocolatepear cake1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room-temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 pears, peeled, in a small dice
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs (I cheated and used flour), set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

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)

While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (because it will foam a lot) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). 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.

Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.

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.

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 [updated, thanks for your responses], or a tester comes out clean

  1. KP says:

    Oh my gorgeous…. I can’t wait till you make it for Thanksgiving.

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