I spotted a recipe in a magazine recently that I felt compelled to try. It was a Rachel Khoo recipe for individual chocolate puddings with a pear in each one.
I bought a bag of those own-brand, basic range pears from the supermarket. There were only five useable pears in it and the recipe was for six but I soldiered on. I also had only five ramekin-sized dishes in my new kitchen, under the new regime of minimal possessions including bakeware. Somewhere there are dozens of other ramekins, probably packed and stored in a mystery warehouse somewhere in darkest Rotherham. Or maybe I took most of them to the charity shop, I can’t quite remember.
In the recipe Rachel uses a steam oven and makes much of its benefits for baking over other ovens. If only !! Luckily instructions for using an ordinary oven are also given.
Although the quantities of the chocolate sponge are for six puddings I made a full batch and divided it between my five dishes. Predictably there was a little too much mixture in the finished puddings meaning that some pears sank from view and others had a muffin top effect.
I adapted the recipe slightly, omitting the salt from the pudding mixture as I was to be serving them for Sunday dinner and I was not at all sure salted puddings were to my dad’s taste – or mine either. The recipe also includes a good measure of black treacle and I was curious to see how that would turn out. Being short of time I used spreadable butter and made the sponge using an all-in-one method.
Mine turned out rather less neat and tidy than in the picture in the magazine but they were still quite delicious. The flavour of the treacle came through strongly and I loved it. I also found that they had an uncooked middle – a kind of chocolate fondant or lava pudding effect. This was not implied in the recipe or the title but when I looked for it online the puddings were indeed called pear and chocolate fondants – moelleux aux chocolat et poire. You can see the recipe here. After several attempts in the past with unremarkable results I now seem to have made the perfect chocolate fondants by accident!
They were fun to look at and quite delicious. Next time I think I would make the six puddings, making sure I had six pears and finding another dish! Either that or not overfill the dishes in my usual waste not, want not fashion. The ones that turned out with the pears the right way up would be a great dessert for a dinner party!
I am submitting the little puddings to this month’s Alphabakes Challenge, a monthly baking venture presented by Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker. This month the chosen letter is P and you can see the details here.
6 small pears
500g caster sugar
150g spreadable butter
150g light soft brown sugar
1tblsp black treacle
120g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks in place, and remove as much as you can of the cores from the base. Put them in a large saucepan with the caster sugar and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until the pears are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4. Butter 6 ramekins.
Put the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and process for a couple of minutes until the mixture is smooth.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins and push a pear into each one, with the stalk sticking up.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until a crust has formed on the sponge but the centre will still be liquid. Serve warm in the ramekins.