675g dark chocolate, in small pieces
450g unsalted butter, soft
675g caster sugar
4 beurre bosc pears, peeled, cored and halved
1 cinnamon stick, broken
100g brown sugar
crème fraiche, to serve
extra cocoa for dusting
1/2 teaspoon black salt to garnish crème fraiche
sprigs of fresh mint to garnish
1. Pre heat your oven to very slow (120°C).
2. To prepare the poached pears, place pear halves into a small casserole dish. Add cinnamon, sugar and enough water to cover pears. Cover with foil and cook for about 4 hours or until very tender. You may need to add a little extra water during cooking so pears do not burn. Check every hour. Remove pears. Cool. Refrigerate, covered, until required.
3. To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm round springform tin. Line base with baking paper.
4. Stir chocolate and butter in a medium bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and combined. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
5. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale and creamy. Fold in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture in two batches.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place into a roasting pan and add enough boiling water to come halfway up side of cake pan. Cook in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes. Remove cake pan from roasting dish. Cool. Refrigerate overnight.To serve, remove side of cake pan. Generously cut the cake into slices and place onto plates. Spoon over a generous amount of creme fraiche and garnish with black salt. Place a pear half on each plate. Dust a little cocoa onto the plate and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
1. The beurre bosc pear is in season from March to November, and is a medium to large pear. Sweet and juicy, it’s one of the best all-rounders for cooking.
2. It is important to cool the chocolate mixture before mixing with the eggs and sugar. If it is too hot, you will end up with scrambled eggs.
3. If black salt is unavailable, try garnishing the crème fraiche with a little grated chocolate.
4. Cooking in a waterbath protects the cake or dessert from the direct heat of the oven, helping to ensure a moist result.
5. This kind of rich chocolate mousse cake would also be delicious served with canned black cherries or a quick espresso sauce.
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