Sunday, January 11, 2015

Molten chocolate & chestnut torte with pears

So, here's the thing. Resolutions are all fine and well, but it's very hard to keep one resolution [let's say - eating healthily] when it directly contradicts another resolution [blogging more often]. If this were a Venn diagram, these two circles have the teeniest tiniest overlap, which mainly consists of courgette spaghetti, coffee, and porridge.

This is not in the overlap. This is nowhere near the overlap. However, it is incredibly delicious, and if, like me, you have the remains of a jar of chestnut purée in the fridge [and who doesn't?] then this is the perfect dinner-party dessert to ease into the new year. If your resolution is to keep gluten-free, go right ahead, but if your resolutions are similarly healthy - stay back. Ahead lies dangerous territory. Or go for a big long run.

Recipe adapted from Felicity Cloake's flourless chocolate cake here 

2-3 ripe pears
260g dark chocolate
260g butter
100g soft brown sugar
160g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
5 tbsp sweetened chestnut puree (about 1/3 cup, less than one can)
3 tbsp chestnut flour or finely ground dried roast chestnuts (optional, but does add a little something-something if you can find it)
8 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
vanilla pods/

Preheat your oven to 160C (fan) or 170C, and grease and base-line a 9inch cake tin.

In a bain-marie, over a low heat, melt together the butter and dark chocolate. Whilst melting these two [which will take a while, because that is a worrying amount of butter], separate the yolks and whites of the eggs into two bowls. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk, by hand or electric mixer, until the mix reaches the ribbon stage and has doubled in size.

Sift the cocoa into this mix, and add the chestnut purée and chestnut flour, if using, and mix again until well combined.

Fold the melted chocolate and butter into this in stages.

Whisk the egg whites until they reach soft peaks, which will take a while by hand, but if you got a snazzy new Kitchenaid for Christmas [thanks Muma], you're living the dream.

Sacrifice a big spoonful of egg whites to the egg whites God, and beat into the mix to lighten it. Then gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the mix, making sure to keep as much air in as possibly, but the batter needs to be properly mixed so there's no streaks of raw egg whites.

Pour the batter into the cake tin, and then slice the ripe pears into roughly 1cm thick slices, and arrange nicely on the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, covering the top with foil or baking parchment if the pears start to brown too much. There will still be a bit of wiggle to the centre, but this will solidify slightly when it cools. If you're the kind of heathen who doesn't like too much melty goodness in their torte, feel free to bake it for longer. But I will judge you.

Cool, slice, enjoy.


  1. Of course this is healthy! It has pears right? Haha i'm definitely trying this today.

  2. Sweet mother of chocolat! What a great mix: chocolat, pears and chestnut? Totally on my list to do!

  3. Beautiful and delicious photography!

  4. That look's divine! And totally worth breaking resolutions over.

  5. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post