Monday, April 5, 2010


Lately I've had a hankering for chocolate. Maybe it was knowing there were chocolate Easter treats hiding in my drawer, but my "gotta have chocolate" meter got cranked to a much higher notch, somewhere between "willing to graze on the chocolate chip stash" and "will make a special trip to the store to buy double chocolate chocolate chip anything with chocolate on top."

The problem with a hankering is that usually it's not patient. I have plenty of chocolate in my house, but it's all in ingredient form. For the most part, have no problem walking by the bags and bins (I kid you not) of chips, wafers, chunks and bars that make up my chocolate stash, because when I want chocolate, I want it in something. Preferably something warm, so the chocolate is melty and oozy, coating the tongue in a warm bath of chocolate bliss. But I didn't want to take the time to make something that would involve multiple steps, lots of waiting, and then cooling time before I could eat it.

Enter Nigella. I have had this recipe bookmarked since I won a copy of Nigella Express. I bought the canned pears just to make it. But for some reason, I never got around to it. But with my chocolate hankering reaching a fever pitch, I started thumbing through cookbooks and came upon this beauty.

Easy, easy, easy to throw together. Only half an hour to bake, and you can make the sauce while it's baking, so you don't burn your tongue licking the oven window while waiting. 5 minutes to cool, and then, ahhhhhhh, heavenly, chocolatey, oozy, delicious bliss! A crispy shell on top gives a texture contrast with the gooey filling. The sharp, almost bitter dark chocolate sauce contrasts with the sweet pear. Seriously, I had a hard time leaving it alone long enough to take pictures!

If you get regular (like monthly) chocolate cravings, go stock up on canned pears. Once you taste this cake, you'll want to make it again and again.

Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake
- adapted from Nigella Express

2-14 oz. cans pear halves in juice
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup cocoa
10 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) soft butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1- Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish with butter.

2- Drain the pears, discarding the juice, or setting it aside for another purpose, if you're super thrifty. Arrange the pear halves in the base of the dish.

3- Put all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and whir it till you get a smooth batter with a soft dropping consistency. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, if you need to.

4- Spread the batter over the pears. Bake for 30 minutes.

5- While the cake is baking make the chocolate sauce (below).

6- Remove the cake from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes and then cut into 9 pieces. Serve with chocolate sauce.

Hot Chocolate Sauce
- adapted from Nigella Express

3 ox dark chocolate, 70 % cocoa solids, roughly chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp golden syrup (I used light corn syrup)

1- Place all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan over gentle heat. Let everything melt together, stirring occasionally.

2- Once everything has melted, take it off the heat and pour into a jug for serving.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


Barbara said...

First time I've seen pears and chocolate together like this! And I trust Nigella to know her chocolate ( as do you) so I am copying this NOW. I love pears; that alone would make this dish for me. But add chocolate? YUM. And a sauce besides? Doubt YUM.

Dolce said...

"so you don't burn your tongue licking the oven window while waiting"...

I did not know you could see through my kitchen when I was baking!

C said...

That looks so good! Love the chocolate and pear combo - it's delicious.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I'm so having a "must have chocolate" day today. Just snacked on strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate. Now I'm wanting your chocolate pear pudding cake. Hormones suck.

grace said...

would you think any less of me if i just made the sauce and drizzled it down my gullet when the cravings hit? :)

Katrina said...

Ahh, great post, and you'll never guess what I've got a hankerin' for now!
I can see Nigella/You/Me sneakin' back to the fridge late at night for a little more of this one! ;)

Bellini Valli said...

All dishes tastes that much better with the addition of chocolate.

hobby baker said...

Oh my. That looks seriously luscious. Mmmmmm.

Bethany Park said...

That looks great! Perfect for a chocolate craving -- I have a feeling that my husband would like the pear/chocolate combination, and that I'd just DRINK that sauce!

Maria said...

The perfect cure to any chocolate craving!

Patricia Scarpin said...

That is luscious, Lynn! Would satisfy all my cravings right now - what a wonderful idea to put pears and chocolate together!

tracieMoo said...

Looks absolutely heavenly. I wouldn't mind the extra calories! yum!

Elle said...

Wicked! Now there are two quick chocolate craving ways to go...but this recipe looks far better than the cocoa cake in a cup. Lovely photos, too Lynn!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Oh my you've just created a chocolate craving that is super strong with this one!! Off to look for something!