dark chocolate & pear torte
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A chocolate torte with pears…
and a dollop of gingered whipped cream.
I came upon this gluten-free flourless, deep dark chocolate torte, baked with the pear of song, and knew it was destined for you.
Simple…and well, sort of heavenly…
Dark Chocolate & Pear Torte
(8 to 12 servings)
1 cup butter (2 sticks, salted)
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (see NOTE)
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups toasted and finely ground almonds (see NOTE)
1 firm-ripe pear (Comice are wonderful here!)
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Fresh Ginger Whipped Cream, for serving (recipe follows)
NOTE: To toast the nuts: Spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until they start to brown. Allow to cool and then grind finely in a food processor. I used toasted ground almonds…but you could just as well use pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts.
NOTE: This might be an occasion to splurge and buy an extra-special chocolate – though of course it’s not necessary. Guittard is such a chocolate. I used the bittersweet.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat; brush some of the butter onto the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Lower the heat beneath the butter and add the chocolate, stirring slowly until the chocolate has melted.
Remove from the heat and transfer the butter chocolate mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs – one at a time – until completely incorporated. The batter will be smooth and glossy. Stir in the ground nuts until well-blended. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the mixture to your buttered springform pan.
Peel, core and quarter the pear, from stem to base. (Using a melon baller to remove the core will help maintain the pretty appearance.) Slice each quarter in half, and then in half again (4 slices/quarter.) Fan the pears around the batter to form a wreath. Bake until the pears are tender and the center of the torte is set, about 40 (to 45) minutes. Set the springform pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan and release the pan’s ring. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving with the whipped cream.
Fresh Ginger Whipped Cream
(Makes 2 cups whipped)
A quick infusion of unpeeled fresh ginger makes a subtle but special whipped topping for all sorts of holiday dishes!
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ¼ -inch-thick slices unpeeled fresh plump ginger
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
In a small saucepan with a heavy base, bring the cream just to a boil over medium heat. Add the slices of ginger and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and allow to stand for 25 to 40 minutes. Remove the ginger slices and discard. Chill the cream, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Using an electric mixer (or by hand if you like to work for your just desserts) whisk the cream until it thickens to the consistency of yogurt. Add 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when you raise the whisk. If the taste is to your liking, stop there. If it needs a touch more sweetness, add a sprinkling more. Chill until ready to serve.
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