We had poached pears with ice-cream and chocolate sauce tonight, inspiration from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.
- 4 pears
- 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- a vanilla pod
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 200g dark chocolate
- Pour a litre of water into a large saucepan, add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores with a teaspoon.
- Add the pears to the boiling syrup, and poach for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool in the syrup
- To serve, take 200ml of the syrup, and boil this with the chocolate.
- Serve the pears over the ice-cream with chocolate sauce poured over the top.
We had some ground hazelnuts, so we tried this recipe. It was delicious, and it would have been even better if I had a cake platter. It also keeps well, and can be frozen. If you don’t have ground hazelnuts, you can start with whole nuts. The recipe is from ‘Chocolate’ by Patricia Lousada.
- 90g Hazelnuts, toasted and rubbed to remove skins, or 90g ground hazelnuts
- 140g fair trade caster sugar
- 90g fair trade continental plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- 90g fair trade dark cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
- 180g organic salted butter, chopped
- 4 free range organic eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 organic plain flour
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 90g fairtrade continental style dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
- 90g plain cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
- 125g salted butter
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- Prepare a 23cm springform tin: grease the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Heat the oven to 190C
- Grind the hazelnuts with 2 tbsp of the sugar.
- In a double pan, melt the two chocolates with the butter
- Whisk the egg yolks with 90g of the sugar until pale, thick and creamy
- When the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, mix it with the egg yolks and sugar
- Mix the flour and salt with the hazelnuts, and fold that into the chocolate mixture as well
- Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until ’soft peak’ and then add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are stiff.
- Fold the egg whites carefully into the chocolate mixture, and scrape into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 35 minutes; the centre will still be moist, and the torte should not have risen much, if at all.
- Cool the torte in the tin on a wire rack. Quick note: at this point, you could cool the torte, turn it out of the tin and then freeze it for up to two months.
- When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Melt the two chocolates with the butter and golden syrup in a double pan.
- Spread about a quarter of the glaze over the cake, and then chill: this stops annoying crumbs getting into the surface of the glaze later on.
- When the first bit is set, rewarm the glaze a little, and pour over the cake. This is best done on a wire rack over a large plate.
- If you are feeling really creative, melt 1 oz white chocolate and 1 oz milk chocolate separately, and pipe designs into the setting glaze. Circular stripes feathered with a skewer are suggested in the book.
We served this with pouring cream.