Pear and Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe
Yesterday morning I picked a basketful of ripe pears from our garden. I think there are probably about 60 more pears I can gather by the end of the season. Everyday, I give my little baby Aria fresh fruit and vegetables, and at already 10 months old, she clearly adores pears. I made a lot of compote de poire ("pear sauce" in English) and after Aria finished her portion, I used the remainder and made chocolate lava cakes. The molten chocolate center paired with chilled pear sauce is absolutely fabulous.
If you're looking to impress guests with an elegant chocolate dessert, search no more. I served this dish last evening for our special guest, a monk who came to visit all the way from 'Đà Lạt, Vietnam. He assured me he had never tasted something so good!
Yields: 8 servings14 pears
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
8 whole eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, to grease the molds
1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional), for dusting
8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate (see tips)
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
powdered sugar, for garnish
For the pears:
Using a home juicing machine, place 3 whole pears in the chute. If you don't have one, you could use pear juice, apple juice of simply water instead.
Stem, peel and core the rest of the pears. Coarsely chop them. Place them in a slow cooker and add the cinnamon. Add the pear juice. Cover and cook on the highest setting for 4 hours, stirring half-way through. Let cool. Transfer to a food mill. If you don't have a food mill, you can use a food processor, then pass the sauce through a coarse-mesh sieve.
Note: If you don't have a slow cooker, you ccan cook the pears directly on the stove.
In a large colander, place the pear puree in a double-layered cheese cloth. Make a knot at the tip and suspend it over the colander using chopsticks. The colander is not essential but is quite convenient; if the knot breaks, you can gather the sauce again in the cheese cloth without starting over. Place a larger bowl underneath the colander to collect the juice. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain as much liquid as possible.
Carefully unwrap the pear sauce and transfer to a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
Place the gathered pear juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer and heat for 2-3 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1-2 tablespoons of concentrated juice. Remove from the heat and let cool.
For the chocolate lava cake:
Grease 10.5-ounce ramekins with a very thin layer of softened butter, then dust them with cocoa powder (using a fine mesh strainer). Remove any excess cocoa powder if necessary.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until pale; the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the concentrated pear juice.
Make a "double boiler" (a pot filled with hot water, covered with a piece of cloth) and place a stainless steel bowl filled with semi-sweet chocolate chips on top. Make sure the bowl circumference is larger than the pot, so there isn't any splatter of water in the chocolate. Slowly melt, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir well until the mixture is uniform.
Combine the egg mixture, melted butter-chocolate, salt and flour. Pour the mixture into the ramekins (about three-quarters full).
Wrap each ramekin and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake for 12-13 minutes; the center should be still jiggly. Remove from the oven.
Place a serving dessert plate on each ramekin. Flip the ramekins on the plates right away and unmold them.
With the back of a spoon, gently press and open the cake and let the lava ooze out. Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar and the chilled pear compote as a reminder of the flavoring in the cake.
Cocoa powder is a substitute for usual all-purpose flour to prevent the chocolate cake from sticking to the bottom of the ramekin so it's easy to un- mold.
The cooking time varies depending on your oven. 12 minutes was the baking time necessary for my oven. I've noticed it cooks faster with the convection mode setting.
FYI: 3 pears yield about 1 cup of pear juice, using the Breville juicer. I love this juicer; there's no need for chopping; because an whole entire pear fits in the chute.
The pears were very fragrant and flavorful. If that's not the case, you could add any fruit extract or vanilla extract.
I strongly recommend using good quality chocolate such as Valrhona, Guittard, Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger. It's the primary ingredient in the dessert and selecting a high quality chocolate will make all the difference in the final results.Published By: on September 7, 2012.