Unless it’s beet cake, we’re not really big on cake. In fact, at our own wedding we served a chocolate fountain instead of the traditional wedding cake.
It kind of went with our non-traditional wedding theme anyway.
Nope, we had no attendants. Set in the front yard where I grew up. The old church pews were hauled in by a tractor. And with the help of my sister-in-law and mother, I sewed my dress. Although inanimate, she’s like a member of the family.
Back in 2001, as student in France I was invited to a wedding, and I fell in love. It was in the hills on the outskirts of Lyon, France and just beautiful. I remember that my name card at the reception just read “L’américaine” and that they served the most divine chocolate pear cake I’d ever tasted. The perfect blend of moist chocolate cake and whole cooked pears. I love every bite and kid you not that I’ve thought about that cake frequently in the past dozen years.
Until this torte, I’d not been able to emulate that cake. This is not exact, but I dare say it might be even better. Plus, I’ve spiced it up with some red chili powder, which gives it more of a Mexican flair than French. If you’re afraid of the heat, go for a quarter teaspoon; otherwise add a pinch more toward a half teaspoon. Please don’t leave it out altogether because life’s too short to not add a little heat!
Spicey Chocolate Pear Torte:
- 7 oz very dark chocolate (70%+) or bittersweet chocolate
- 4 T butter
- ¾ c brown sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 32oz can of pears (drained)
- 2 T molasses
- ¼ t salt
- ¼ – ½ t red chili powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10-12 inch tart pan. Or use mini/individual-sized tart pans if you’d like. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Beat together egg yolks, sugar, molasses, salt and your choice amount of chili powder (or leave it out, but you’ll be missing it!). Mix in about ¼ C of the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Continuing to mix, slowly pour in the rest of the melted chocolate until all is incorporated. Fold in the egg whites, just until all is blended.
Organize the pears, cut side down, to evenly distribute them in the pan. Pour the torte batter over the pears. Bake for 30-35min, until the torte does not jiggle in the middle. Remove from oven and let torte cool. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if you’d like or toss on a dash more of the chili powder if you’re crazy like moi.