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dark chocolate & pear torte

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

DarkChocolatePearTorte-2

A chocolate torte with pears…

and a dollop of gingered whipped cream.

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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…

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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

4 eggs

1½ cups toasted and finely ground almonds (see NOTE)

1 firm-ripe pear (Comice are wonderful here!)

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Powdered sugar, for dusting

Fresh Ginger Whipped Cream, for serving (recipe follows)

~

DarkChocolatePearTorte-3

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 pecanswalnuts 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.

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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.

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recipe for gingered whipped cream follows…

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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To print, click.

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59 Comments Post a comment
  1. settleandchase #

    This looks incredible – and so nice for something to be gluten free and still a sumptuous treat!

    December 9, 2012
    • Cath, I’m happy you came to visit. Over the past several years I’ve discovered something that was a bit of a surprise. I’d “assumed” gluten-free would mean a compromise in taste and texture…I’ve found that to be absolutely not the case. And this dessert is one case in point.

      December 10, 2012
      • settleandchase #

        I’ve signed in here this morning as I’m going to be making this for my partners birthday today! Wish me luck! 🙂

        December 21, 2012
        • Oh I DO wish you luck! honestly though you don’t need it – but since you’ve asked, I do. 🙂 I’m so happy you let me know you’re making it! What a special dessert for someone you love -and it seems just the right thing for a birthday so near Christmas! Have fun celebrating!

          December 21, 2012
  2. We have a flourless chocolate cake that’s one of our favorites. I think this could easily be on that short list too. I love the addition of fruit and it’s really pretty.

    December 9, 2012
    • I think I might be teetering on the edge of preferring these flourless cakes to the more traditional floured ones. And I love that chocolate plays so nicely with fruit!

      December 10, 2012
  3. The fruit gives everyone the idea that it’s not so fattening after all! Wondrerful.

    December 9, 2012
    • Oh yes, I forgot to mention, it’s calorie-less too! Wonderful indeed! 😉

      December 10, 2012
  4. Ali #

    Oh my goodness. Can’t wait to taste this beautiful dessert’s divinity!

    December 9, 2012
    • This was pretty much out of this world Ali. You’ll be glad you bookmarked this one! 🙂 xx

      December 10, 2012
  5. Mari Anna #

    Oh my! I wonder if you are for real or maybe just an angel from heaven who brings us such beautiful things. This looks wonderful,I’ll try it too!

    December 9, 2012
    • (Marianna, you might want to see Joseph’s comment below. 😉 ) But DO try this! It has to be from somewhere up above… xx

      December 10, 2012
  6. This looks beautiful.

    December 9, 2012
  7. I never think to bake with pears – looks delicious – thanks for sharing!

    December 9, 2012
    • You’re so very welcome! (and I hope you’ll consider baking with pears – they seem to love it.)

      December 10, 2012
  8. While others may deem you “an angel from heaven”, it seems to me that you are a wicked temptress from Hades. How can one resist a “deep dark chocolate torte” with ginger whipped cream. Even the most puritanical must succumb.

    December 9, 2012
    • Hah!! A temptress, eh? 😉

      December 10, 2012
  9. peasepudding #

    It looks heavenly and what a beautiful pic. I love the tree in the background. I don’t have lights on my tree since it is summer here and goes dark late butIi do miss a European Christmas.

    December 9, 2012
    • Ohhh…hard to imagine a tree without lights…for us living here in the grey darkness of winter, it’s a bright and cheery sight. Thank you for the nice comment!

      December 10, 2012
  10. Oh, so over-the-top gorgeous! Your food styling and photography is something I aspire to! And the torte sounds delicious. Another one for my pin board!

    December 9, 2012
    • Mar, thank you so very much! What an uplifting gift you just left me! So kind! And thank you for pinning! 🙂

      December 10, 2012
  11. I can hardly imagine a thing I would love more! Such beauty — those twinkling lights, that teeny adorable pear and, as always, the color. Not to mention how I love dark chocolate and pears together!

    December 9, 2012
    • Thanks Ashley! I have to agree – pears and dark chocolate were a marriage destined for greatness. And (IMHO) these flourless chocolate tortes take the prize for flavor and consistency and retained moisture…just the best! And this one is not at all too sweet!

      December 10, 2012
  12. Looks awesome! I would love to try some.

    December 9, 2012
    • And I think you should! 😉

      December 10, 2012
  13. You’ve done it again, Spree! This torte sounds delicious and the fact that it’s GF is an added bonus! This time of year, it’s always nice to have a fanciful dessert for the GF crowd. Too often they’re overlooked. I’m pinning this one, like I do so many of your posts, and will be sending the link to my GF friends. On their behalf, thanks, Spree.

    December 9, 2012
    • When I started preparing GF desserts for friends John, I fully expected them to be a compromise in texture, consistency and taste. They’ve proved not to be at all! At the very least they hold their own…and just as often they take the prize. (This one’s a real winner…and I think a bit of a “looker” too! 🙂 ) Thanks for your nice words, John, and thanks too for sharing!

      December 10, 2012
  14. Gluten intolerant people from around the world are going to be soooooo happy! Gluten free and gorgeous with delightful pears and dark chocolate. I am sharing this one on facebook as the world must know! Take care, BAM

    December 10, 2012
    • Bam, you’re cute. Thank you! (as I’ve said before, and a couple times above, EVERYbody who likes a good chocolate dessert will be very happy they tasted this one.) Very sweet of you to share. Thank you!

      December 10, 2012
  15. You’ve done a wonderful job on the pictures – beautifully seen and rich colour. As for the recipe – I’m going to make it. So good:)

    December 10, 2012
    • You won’t regret it! (And I appreciate your kind compliments, thank you!)

      December 10, 2012
  16. I know someone who will absolutely love this recipe — jugorum.wordpress.com, which has discovered the benefits of flourless baking, and I will let her know to come here! Oohh, wish I could cook….
    Lovely pix as usual, too *sigh

    December 10, 2012
    • Oh Janina! You can cook….you just don’t know it yet!!
      (Thanks for the kind compliment, and thank you too for sharing! 🙂 )

      December 10, 2012
  17. That is a seriously sexy torte! Adore pears and this is perfect. Beautiful settings for the photos, and I love the sound of that ginger whipped cream….mmmm!

    December 10, 2012
    • Seriously sexy…;) . Glad to know Tanya that in this setting of dainty flowers, teapot and cups, her simmering sexiness still shone through. And mmmm yes the whipped cream, you would love.

      December 10, 2012
  18. Cute pear! Also, I’d do anything for this… anything… anything… *wink* (or I could just make it)…

    December 10, 2012
    • I know…seriously…is that little pear not adorable?! Oh don’t make it, Nick! I’ll make it FOR you! I’d mich rather see you do *anything*!

      December 10, 2012
      • Haha… send one to me and I shall! But only if it survives the journey intact…

        December 10, 2012
  19. I’ve never tried cooking or baking gluten-free, but now I think I will! This torte would be perfect for dessert OR as a delicious addition to brunch. Thanks for sharing — I look forward to trying this recipe out!

    December 10, 2012
    • You’re in for a surprise…and a treat! And I agree…it’d be so pretty on a brunch table this time of year! Thanks for the comment!

      December 10, 2012
  20. That is such a stunning torte!! The settings are awesome too! I love the pears and chocolate pairing! Seriously that torte looks like it came from an European bakery! Brava!

    December 10, 2012
    • Wow…thank you, Ambrosiana! Just Thank You! 🙂 In truth I just had some Very cooperative ingredients!

      December 11, 2012
  21. Wow and WOW and WOW again! The torte sounds an dlooks amazing (your photos really are superb) and then you finished it off with ginger cream. Saving this recipe that’s for sure !!

    December 10, 2012
    • Claire, thank you! This one’s worth a save for sure!

      December 11, 2012
  22. erin #

    oh my holy gracious. and the ginger whipped cream??!! oooo man. this one is going to have to make an appearance in my kitchen soon…

    December 10, 2012
    • It’ll be a happy day, that one! 🙂 thanks for the sweet comment!

      December 11, 2012
  23. What a dear little pear.

    December 10, 2012
    • Yes, she really was…

      December 11, 2012
  24. martha #

    I’m thinking this is going to replace our traditional chocolate fondue for Christmas dinner! I am ready for a change and this just looks/sounds perfectly wonderful!!

    December 10, 2012
    • Martha if you do make this for your Christmas dinner, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      December 11, 2012
  25. Deb schneider #

    It is . . . Heavenly!! I love that you “peared” it with 12 days of Christmas :). There is nothing my true love would want more than a torte of his own!

    December 10, 2012
  26. Stunning. Seriously STUNNING. Just the injection of awesome I needed before starting the day…

    December 12, 2012
    • Ahh, I could do that for YOU, Movita? That makes MY day! xx

      December 13, 2012
  27. carolyn #

    Astonishingly beautiful! A cake I get to have and eat!

    December 12, 2012
  28. Spree!
    This looks so amazing and the shots arte beautiful!
    A torte that has pear and dark chocolate could never go wrong!!
    Wow!!! Simply wow!!
    Merry christmas!

    December 22, 2012
    • Oh Pablo, so nice to hear from you! And thank you! I agree it’s a winning combination! And Merry merry Christmas, friend! Felice Navidad!

      December 22, 2012

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