Chocolate and Poached Pear Puddings with Chocolate Sauce

, from Issue #43. August, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Chocolate and Poached Pear Puddings with Chocolate Sauce

Pears and chocolate are a classic match, made doubly delicious with chocolate sauce. The sour cream gives a lovely soft texture.

Serves: 4


4 small firm but ripe pears, peeled
4 cups water
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick

1 cup plain flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup chopped dark chocolate
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup melted butter
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules

Chocolate sauce
½ cup cream
¾ cup chopped dark chocolate

icing sugar for dusting
softly whipped cream for serving

4 x 1½ cup-capacity ovenproof ramekins, lightly greased


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Pears: Put the water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan that will hold all the pears without too much extra space. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then add the pears. Cover with a piece of baking paper and place a small plate on top to keep the pears submerged. Cook at a gentle simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pears are tender when pierced with a skewer but not falling apart. Gently remove the pears with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towels to cool.

Sauce: Heat the cream in a small saucepan to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. If made ahead, re-heat to serve.

Puddings: Sift the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir in the chocolate. Whisk the remaining ingredients in another bowl then add to the dry ingredients. Gently mix until just combined but don’t over beat or the puddings will be tough. Place a small spoonful of the mixture in the base of each dish and top with a pear. This holds the pear in place. Using a teaspoon, spoon the remaining mixture evenly around the pears. Place on a baking tray and cook for 13-15 minutes until the puddings are puffed and just a little soft when you press the surface.

To serve: Place each pudding on a plate and dust with icing sugar. Serve with warm chocolate sauce and softly whipped cream. 

Do ahead: You can poach the pears up to 1 week ahead and keep chilled, submerged in the poaching liquid until ready to use.