Friday, 2 November 2012

Dark chocolate, pistachio and pear cake

I love it when my Urbanlocavore box arrives each month. Not only is it just a little bit like Christmas (a boxful of comestible goodies!) but there is also the challenge of combining the various ingredients to create something that you may never had made had those ingredients not just landed (metaphorically) in your lap.

This month's box yielded many delicious surprises and among them were a bar of Bahen and Co chocolate plus a packet of WA pistachios.

So, chocolate is not normally difficult to find uses for, and as you can see from the image below, my primary use of chocolate is one of instant gratification. It rarely makes it as far as the cooking stage.

It's a different story with unexpected ingredients such as the pistachios. Yes, I could just eat them, but there were a fair few and I wanted to make the most of that gorgeous pistachio flavour and texture.

At times like this, I turn to the Internet, and this time, the recipe that popped up was this beauty from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. 

I followed the recipe exactly. This meant having to duck out to the shops for extra dark chocolate - my little bar of Bahen beauty was only 75g and there was no way I was going to be able to source another 275g of that particular brand at such short notice. (Next time, I'll be going Bahen all the way, believe me). This means that the cake that you see pictured has a mostly-Bahen ganache and Lindt 70% for the rest.

I definitely recommend this cake. Some chocolate cakes are too sweet and too rich. The dark chocolate in this recipe means that you can enjoy the intense smokiness of the chocolate flavours without finding it cloying. The pistachios bring a lightness and the pear provides the moisture. Everything is in balance to make a very grown-up cake. 

It's easy to prepare too. The prep time was exactly the 20 minutes that the recipe promised. Watch out for the cooking time, though.I found that with my oven, I needed 1.5 hours rather than the recommended 45 minutes. I'm pretty sure, however, that that's just my oven.

You'll see from the pictures that my cake was cooked in a heart-shaped tin. Just so you know, this was down to expediency (i.e. it was the only tin I could find) rather than a sense of romance. I'd actually made it to be the centrepiece and dessert in belated birthday celebrations for myself (yes, I recently gained another year...)

The cooled cake on a plate.

A very simple ganache made with chocolate and cream
Happy belated birthday to me!

I had an alfresco dinner-party on a warm Spring evening and I finished off the feast with this cake and coffee. There was enough of it to serve 12 and give some to guests to take home.

And despite the fact that I think it is grown-up cake, the children loved it too.

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