- 5½ oz caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2 pears, peeled and cored
- 8 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3 oz ground hazelnuts
- ½ cup rice flour
- 2 oz hazelnuts, lightly toasted
- 6 egg whites
- 7 oz caster (superfine) sugar
Poach the Pears
Place the sugar, 2 cups of water, the scraped vanilla seeds, and lemon zest and juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add the peeled and cored pears and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for approximately 10–15 minutes or until the pears are soft enough for you to easily insert a paring knife into the flesh.
Turn off the heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup.
Once cool, slice each pear into four pieces lengthways.
TIP: You can use tinned pears instead of poached pears.
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F).
Grease a 9-in round non-stick spring form cake tin.
Line the tin with baking paper on the base and side cut to size.
Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in the microwave. Melt it on High (100%) in short 20-second bursts, stirring well in between each burst.
Transfer the chocolate and butter mixture to a mixing bowl.
Stir in the egg yolks and mix well, followed by the ground hazelnuts and the rice flour. Mix well again – the mixture will thicken and look separated. Mix in the whole hazelnuts.
Whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer until you have a stiff meringue then add the sugar in three batches. The meringue will become a little wet. At this point fold it into the chocolate base in two batches.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the slices of pear on top, going around in a circle like the hands of a clock.
Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes or until just cooked. You want the center of the cake to still be a bit moist, as it will go fudgy once cooled.
A crust should have formed on top of the cake.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin before turning it out. Once the cake has cooled, serve it immediately with thickened cream, if desired.
About this recipe
“This is a really fudgy and delicious cake that is suitable for gluten-free diets. This cake forms the base of one of my most popular mousse cakes at Sweet Studio but, as you can see here, it stands up really well on its own.” -- Darren Purchese
Recipes and excerpts used with permission from Lamingtons and Lemon Tarts by Darren Purchese.