Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Pear and chocolate pudding

Today I passed a milestone, less than 20 days left to go in my current job. 19 days to be exact. 152 working hours. Including lunch breaks. This is where the doubt sets in. Did I make the right decision? What if the new job is even more horrid? The new job is further away and significantly less money. Should I just have tried to ride out the worries and problems in my current job? Maybe it would have gotten better? One thing I know for sure is I will miss my colleagues very much. I have been incredibly lucky throughout my career, most of my best friends have started out as colleagues. And the best thing about my current job is definitely all the people I have the joy and privilege to work with. Some have become good friends, and I hope leaving my job doesn't mean leaving them all behind.

So what better way to drown all your worries and fears than to cook a nice hearty and delicious pud. We still have a ridiculous amount of pears in the freezer. Our beautiful pear tree produced so many perfect pears this autumn, I could not get enough. Too bad pears don't keep very well as they are, as I loved to snack on our tasty and perfect pears. Nigella's chocolate and pear pudding was the first hit that came up when I googled pear dessert or something along those lines. To me pear and chocolate go together well, so I had to give it a try.

Pear and chocolate pudding by Nigella Lawson (serves 6-8):
830 grams pear halves in juice (2 cans) 
125 g plain flour
25 g cocoa powder
125 g caster sugar
150 g soft butter (plus extra for greasing)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The howto:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and grease a 22 cm square oven proof dish. Drain the pears and place in the bottom of the dish. I used pears from the freezer, thawing them and then placing the rather limp pear bits at the bottom of the dish. Using a food processor, mix all the ingredients until a batter forms. I don't have a food processor, so I just mixed it all up with my handheld mixer. I also didn't have any cocoa powder, so I added 25 g more flour, and melted 60 g dark chocolate in the microwave and added to the batter. Pour the batter on top of the pears and bake for about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, cut and serve with custard or ice cream.

The verdict:
I had a slight problem as the frozen pears gave off much more liquid than I would expect tinned pears would do, so I had to bake my pudding a bit longer. I think I slightly overbaked the pudding, as only a very small region in the centre of the pudding remained gooey. I think baking it according to instructions would have produced a pudding that was a bit more moist and gooey. But this was still a really great recipe, the pears and chocolate go so well together. And it was balanced well by the cold ice cream. I will definitely make this again, and I have stocked up on cocoa powder, so I can stick to the recipe next time. And maybe throw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure.

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