Monday, November 30, 2009

Chocolate-Pear Cake

Today is the First Advent. Advent is celebrated in many European countries. It marks the four Sundays before Christmas. Each Sunday you light up one more candle. In Germany many people will have a wreath with four candles or some other kind of Christmas arrangement. I made my own wreath this year, and since I couldn't find candle holders to stick in the wreath, I used some nails, and it worked perfectly.

Advent is also the time when we usually start our Christmas baking. My Mom always makes endless creations of beautiful Christmas cookies. So for the time until Christmas I have lots of Christmas related baking for you. Make sure you come back often.

I am starting with a cake today. This is a very elegant and tasty chocolate cake which would be perfect for a Christmas dessert or like we usually have it in the afternoon with a cup of tea. It's a chocolate sponge topped with a chocolate cream and poached pears and then covered with chocolate ganache. Yumm! I was first hesitating when I read that it is baked twice, because I thought the cream would harden to much, but it tasted absolutely wonderful. I found the recipe from Lindt, and they certainly know what to do with chocolate.

Chocolate-Pear Cake

(adapted from Lindt)

makes a 8-inch (21cm) cake

poached pears:
3 medium pears
250ml white wine
100g granulated sugar
juice from 1 lemon

sponge cake:
3 eggs
75g granulated sugar
60g all purpose flour
20g cocoa
100g melted bittersweet chocolate

chocolate cream:
150ml milk
150ml whipping cream
a pinch of salt
50g melted butter
50g granulated sugar
25g chocolate pudding (custard) powder - I used Dr. Oetker Pudding
2 eggs
100g melted bittersweet chocolate

75 ml whipping cream
20g butter
50g granulated sugar
100g bittersweet chocolat, chopped

chocolate shavings for decoration

For the poached pears peel the pears, then cut them in half and remove the core. In a saucepan bring the wine, sugar and lemon juice to boil. Add the pears and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. Afterwards let them cool in the juice.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180° Celsius). Line a 8-inch (21cm) springform pan with parchment paper.

For the sponge cake whisk the eggs and the sugar with a mixer about 5 minutes until foamy. Mix the flour and the cocoa and fold in the egg mixture together with the melted chocolate. Fill the dough in your springform pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Let the sponge cool in the form.

Brush the cooled sponge with 3-4 tablespoons of the poach-juice. Then arrange the pear halves on the sponge, cut site down.

For the chocolate cream mix the milk and the cream and add the salt. In a saucepan bring half of the mixture to boil together with the melted butter and the sugar. Whisk the other half of the mixture together with the pudding powder and the eggs until smooth. Add to the boiling mixture and constantly whisk until the cream thickens. Take from the stove and whisk in the melted chocolate.

Fill the cream in your springform pan on top of the pears and bake for another 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the ganache bring the cream and butter to boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and mix until the chocolate is melted. Bring 50ml water with the sugar to boil. Mix with the chocolate mixture until smooth, and let cool a little bit.

Remove the cake from the pan and put on a wire rack. Evenly spread the ganache over the cake. Let cool for about 2 hours and sprinke with shaved chocolate curls before serving.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
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