Flourless chocolate & pear cake

Flourless chocolate & pear cake

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(53 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 40 mins

Skill level

Moderately easy

Servings

Serves 8

A light, but luscious cake made with hazelnuts - serve a slice for dessert with a dollop of crème fraîche

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-free
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
334
protein
5g
carbs
28g
fat
23g
saturates
9g
fibre
0g
sugar
28g
salt
0.28g

Ingredients

  • 85g butter, plus 1 tbsp extra for tin
  • 85g golden caster sugar, plus extra for tin
  • 85g gluten-free dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 85g hazelnuts, toasted and ground in a food processor
  • 4 very ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • icing sugar, for dusting

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Method

  1. Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush again with more butter. Spoon in 2 tbsp caster sugar, swirl it around to coat the base and sides, then tip out any excess.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, stir in the brandy and leave to cool. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts.
  3. In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you’ll have trouble folding them in). Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut-side down. Bake for 40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and serve with crème fraîche.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2008

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Comments

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felicityhm's picture

I think all your comments about baking it for 10 minutes first so the pears won't sink are very useful. In the picture though, it does apepar that they are sunken, so I guess it is just a personal choice as to what effect your are trying to achieve.

emmaj4's picture

Really lovely and quite easy. Mine sunk to my disappointment, but I suspect this was my fault rather than the recipe! Although the recipe warns against making the egg whites too stiff by whisking, I would encourage you to make them firm as I think this will help the cake stay up! I'd also leave the cake in the oven to cool to avoid sinking in the future. I waited for the cake to cook for 15 minutes before dropping the pears onto the top - this stopped them sinking. Even though the cake deflated somewhat, it was still delicious and wonderful served with ice cream! Thanks!

Nash's picture

Delicious! I took this cake around to a family dinner for dessert. It went down really well with creme fraiche. I also replaced the hazelnuts by ground almonds and for texture added in some chopped almonds in the mix before pouring it in a 24cm tart tin. I replaced the pears with tinned pears which worked out absolutely fine. However, I baked the cake for 8 min before arranging the pears on top of the cake. They didn't sink...came out beautifully. Next time, I would like to poach some pears in vanilla before adding them in! I thought the amount of sugar was good as well, not overly sweet. This recipe is a keeper!

franette's picture

Delicious! Strong chocolate taste but very light! I just bought plain ground hazelnuts and it turned out well.

jenniferocious's picture

Really nice and easier than I thought it would be. Will be are regular bake for me from now on.

stellacsg's picture

Made this tonight and followed the recipe mostly - changes made: I used a pie tin which was approx. 22cm (instead of the 25cm cake tin) and also followed the suggestions of others - I put the cake in the oven to cook and then proceeded to prepare the pears (peel, core and halve) which took about 7-8 minutes, at which point I placed the pears on the cake and had no issues with sunk pears. It turned out perfectly (other than the pears being a little squished together due to the smaller tin..)

isadoradumpling's picture

This is a bit of a faff. I will do this on occasions such as Xmas or Easter but it will not become an every month feature unless it works with my cheating ways!
I try these recipes with whole eggs whisked well and most of them are successful and so I will once again, outrage any chefs out there but I am not one and I need time not kudos. It is not my career path. Ordinary mortals simply wish to produce reasonably decorative but infinitely palatable food. Sorry chefs!

jnduggan's picture

A great pud and very easy! I think the tin size is important on here...I'm glad I read the previous reviews, got a 25" tin and used a paper liner and it was divine...smooth, rich, chocolatey and delicious!

jules_milroy's picture
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I needed a gluten free pudding so tried this. It was fab and I now make even when I don't need a gluten free recipe. I use ground almonds instead of hazelnuts and I replaced the brandy with ameretto. It is a lovely light dessert and everyone has always loved it.

lizzyg's picture
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Fantastic recipe. Very easy to make and extremely light and tasty. Used tinned pears which worked really well.

charlene25's picture
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Perfect result....i used tinned pears and dropped a couple of whole hazelnuts in the mixture and it worked out just fine. The cake is not so sweet, which i prefer, and the texture come light with a crispy top.....i m happy :)

katiabh's picture
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Made this cake this evening as I had some ripe pears left over. Left out the brandy for my children.
Unfortunately my pears sunk as well and my daughter didn't like the pears. Didn't stop her eating the cake around though.
After reading the other comments, I will try again by adding the pears after 10 min in the oven.
I too didn't have hazelnuts so used ground almond instead. I will also try with raspberries.
Very nice tasty and light cake but the sinking pears made it a bit soggy at the bottom.

Lola_balola's picture
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Great recipe. Easy to make. Rises appropriately. Has that slightly odd texture of a gluten free cake but tasty none the less.

misswales013's picture
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Delicious! It was so light, it tasted like a mousse! Would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

serendippity's picture
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Wonderfully light and very moreish. Made for a coeliac friend but absolutely everyone just loved it!

cawpeanut's picture
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Made this for dessert for mother in law with gluten allergies and it was lovely for all concerned! Easy to make and tastes gorgeous! I served with thick cream and popped some raspberries on the plate too!

newcastleunited's picture

Looks like agreat recipe BUT why choose such an awkward size for a cake tine? I have been unable to get a 25cm cake tin of any type. The nearest equivalent is £13.99 and a 23cm square. Why don't recipe writers ever think that many tins are either unobtainable or overtly pricy or both?

maitken's picture
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This is a delicious cake, very light for a flour less chocolate. I didnt add pears and honestly didn't miss them. I plan to make many more with this recipe

maitken's picture
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I made this without the pears as I didn’t have any. It was absolutely delicious, much lighter than other flourless chocolate cakes I’ve made and way more moist. It is a winner as we are now gluten free in our house, but, thankfully, not chocolate-free!

estie83's picture

I have just made this cake, in fact its still in the oven at the moment but its looks amazing!
I was a bit nervous about it not rising, having read other comments but it has probably doubled in volume! As long as you are careful with folding the egg whites in, I can't imagine how it could go wrong. I used two loaf tins, sprinkled raspberries over instead of the pear and ommited the brandy. Can't wait to taste it!

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