Updated: Feb 13, 2022
My favorite part of a full coarse meal is the dessert. If a restaurant fails at its dessert, then it fails as a whole. I mean, who doesn't love desserts? Do not trust anyone who doesn't; those are the real sociopaths. Lol. Just kidding. Anyway, this is the last dish I had served for a lunch event. Here's a snapshot.
A simple Poire Belle Hélène. I was wondering if I had done justice to the classic French dessert. I decided to research more online; actually, I am looking for other ways to incorporate the poached pear.
Then I stumbled upon Bruno Albouze's version. I was completely blown away and I immediately stormed into action and made this. The only problem with that is you cannot unmold the cake; you have to serve it as it is, on a serving plate, bowl or in ramekins.
So, I decided to serve it as a whole. You can make this version for Valentine's Day so that you can share this with your significant other. Or if you are like me, who doesn't like sharing food, you can serve these up on separate ramekins.
The best part is you can prep the poached pears in advance. During V Day, you just need to prepare the chocolate batter and bake. Anyway, all the detailed directions are down below. Give this recipe a go and surprise your beloved this V Day. Happy Valentine's Day!
Inspired by Bruno Albouze
Water, 1.5 L
Light Muscovado Sugar, 100g
Granulated Sugar, 100g
Cinnamon Stick Preferably Hexa, 2
Star Anise, 4
Lemongrass White Part Only Smashed, 2
Grand Marnier / Cognac, 2 TBSP
Fresh Orange Zest, 1 Orange
Ginger Smashed, 1 Inch
Pears Preferably Conference Pears, 8
High Quality Dark Chocolate Preferably Valrhona or Callebaut, 150g
Unsalted Butter Softened, 113g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Grand Marnier / Cognac, 2 TBSP
Fresh Orange Zest, 1/2 Orange
Demerara Sugar, 100g
Corn Flour, 50g
High Quality Cocoa Powder Preferably Valrhona or Callebaut, For Dusting
Edible Gold Dust, For Dusting
Raw Cacao Nibs, For Garnishing
Fresh Mint, For Garnishing
Oven Proof Ramekins / Bowls / Plates / 3.5" Pastry Rings
Prepare the poached pears.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, add water, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemongrass, liqueur, orange zest and ginger.
Stir to combine well and until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 30 mins.
Remove from heat.
Peel the pears using a peeler.
*I am using Conference Pears. They are sweet and seedless. You can use other types of pears, Bosc works well too. Except for Chinese pears.*
Using a melon baller, carefully remove the bottom of the pears.
If you are using pears like Bosc, you will need to scrape out all the seeds with a small sharp knife. Do it carefully and not damage the pears.
Place the pears immediately into the syrup or it will oxidize very quickly.
Fill the pot with more water, just enuff to submerge the pears and only if necessary.
Return the pot back to the heat.
Cut out a round parchment paper to cover the pears and the syrup.
This will ensure even coloring of the pears.
Bring it up to a simmer and turn the heat down to low.
Cover and poach the pears for 30 mins.
Remove from heat and let chill in the fridge overnight, with the parchment paper still intact.
Prepare the lava cakes.
Preheat oven to 230 degree celsius or 450 fahrenheit.
On a double boiler, add chocolate.
Once the chocolate starts to melt, remove it from heat and add butter.
Stir until well combined and the butter has melted as well.
Add in salt, liqueur, orange zest and cayenne.
Mix until well combined and set aside.
In another bowl, add egg and sugar.
Whisk to combine well.
Add 1/3 of the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Whisk until everything is fully incorporated.
Transfer everything back into the chocolate mixture.
Fold until well combined.
Sieve and fold in the cornflour in half portions until everything is fully incorporated.
If you are using ramekins, transfer the chocolate batter into ramekins to about 3/4 full.
If you would like to serve these on a serving plate, lightly grease a pastry ring with some butter and wrap the inner circumference with parchment paper. Place the pastry ring on the serving plate and pour the batter into the ring.
If you are using bowls, pour the batter into the bowl.
*Do take note that you will not be able to unmold the cakes.*
Wack into the oven and bake for 8 mins.
The edge should be hard while the middle is still soft and jiggly.
Drain pears from the syrup.
*You can make excellent tea with the syrup.*
Place 1 pear into each ramekin, pastry ring, or serving bowl.
*If you are serving this on a plate with a pastry ring, it is best to slice the bottom of the pears to make it flat.*
There will be cracks and that's the beauty of this dish.
Wack back into the oven and bake for a further 5 mins.
Remove from oven.
Sprinkle some cocoa powder and gold dust over the top.
Garnish with some cacao nibs and mint on the sides
Serve immediately while they are still warm.
Super chocolaty, not for the faint of heart...
Surprise your beloved with this dessert on V-Day...