Chocolate Pear Cake

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The first few weeks in my new place of residence, the Monterey Bay, I am becoming acquainted with the new job and the folk it brings along with it, the farmers markets, the yoga schedules, and most importantly the new (to me) oven.

After woefully under cooking a perfect batter of spelt zucchini bread, I optimistically set my sights on a brand new recette: Chocolate Pear Cake. A friend of one of the roomies came over one day, with freshly picked pears from her tree... and that was enough to make her my friend too. I usually lean more toward the apple camp than the pear, but heck... throw in a bit of chocolate and Ill eat mostly anything. So, welcome fall with pears and chocolate. It just seems wrong not to.

I brought it into my new job at the restaurant, trying to gain baker/cook approval. So if you care it is La Bicyclette in Carmel, CA approved. Whatever that means to you.

Chocolate Pear Cake

For this recipe I used some barley flour along with almond meal because I like the soft and nutty crumb that it produces for cakes. But, if you want, you can always substitute the barley for regular or white whole wheat flour. The almond meal is a keeper.... although hazelnut flour would not be a bad call...

4 oz butter, unsalted
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 oz dark chocolate
1/4 cup barley flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour or meal
4 TB cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 pears, halved and poached (origin: preferably from a neighbors tree)

Don't let this step deter you. C'est tres facil... easy peasy for you non-francophiles. Just bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil along with 1/2 cup of sugar. Throw in your halved pears, potentially having to add more water to cover them and let cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat or a low boil. When finished, they should be tender when pricked with a fork.

Set the oven to 350 F. Again, my friendly European the conversion. Butter a 9 or 10 inch round pan. Next, melt the chocolate and set aside. (Note: you can melt the chocolate by bringing one small saucepan with water to a boil and placing a larger bowl on top of the pot with the chocolate. This will ensure that your chocolate wont burn during the melting process) En suite, sift all of your dry ingredients together (flours, salt, baking powder, coco powder). In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together. After a couple minutes and the mixture is nice and fluffy, add in one egg at a time...incorporating each once well before adding the next. Then stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Finalement, go ahead and stir in the flour mixture in two separate parts. Don't over stir... or rather until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and arrange the pears on top of the batter in a nice fashion. Push them down a bit. It should take 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Remember convection bakers, your oven is an overachiever so watch your cakes extra carefully and maybe turn down the temperature a bit. You don't want to over bake this cake... it should be moist.

Serve with some fresh whipped cream and cozy up to the fireplace you may or may not need in this transitional seasonal period. But still... you have to love chocolate, pears, and coziness. You just have to.

Music Pairing
Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs. "New York City's Killing Me"
Hes so fall-y. And I just love his husky voice. Its almost as though he means what hes a sayin. Which sometimes feels like a rare find.


sheena said...

I love Ray. And chocolate. And pears......what a perfect combination these three!

Steph said...

thanks so much sheena!

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