Second to a chocolate bar, flourless chocolate cake is the next best way of delivering the highest percentage of chocolate (with the best chocolate to weight ratio) straight to your veins. Who needs all that starchy filler they call flour? Surely not me. Give me this dense, calorie-laden dessert. A girl like me doesn't need much.
The pear? Well, that was on a whimsy. They were originally supposed to have been caramelized bananas, but alas, there were none to be found on hand. Which was all for the better, because pear and chocolate are like two long lost lovers. Their flavors marry well together, with the fragrant pear perfectly complementing the deep earthiness of the chocolate. Pear works well with white chocolate also, but that's not really chocolate now, is it?
Just because it's past Valentine's Day doesn't mean we should lessen our chocolate intake. There's a reason to eat it everyday; hey, dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to be really good for our health. And our sanity.
Flourless Chocolate Pear Torte
yields a 9" torte
Use a high quality bittersweet chocolate, or else it's really not worth making at all. I prefer Bosc pears; they have a much cleaner, sweeter taste. The powdered sugar decoration is purely optional. You can create the same effect by cutting out shapes in parchment, laying them over the cooled torte, and generously sprinkling the sugar over it.
10 oz. sugar
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
2 Tbsp espresso, or brandy (optional)
1 pear, peeled and cored
1 tsp ground cinnamon
powdered sugar, for decorating
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the sides, and wrap 2 layers of foil around the outside of the pan, in preparation for the water bath. Set in the middle of a large roasting pan.
2. Whip the eggs until they double in volume, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. When it is completely melted down, stir in the sugar and butter. Continue melting until you obtain a smooth, lustrous consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in the espresso or brandy.
4. Slice the pear, vertically, into 12 pieces. Lay them in a circle at the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle evenly with ground cinnamon.
5. Gently fold the whipped eggs into the melted chocolate mixture, in 3 steps. Be sure the batter is well blended. Pour over the pears, into the pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan, so that the water comes up halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top of the torte is set, but still slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Loosen the torte from the pan, invert to remove the parchment paper, and reinvert onto a serving dish. Decorate as needed.