Pear and chocolate cake

Grandma is always the best cook, isn’t she? I think it’s because they stick to proven recipes. “Old school” cook doesn’t care for hips and belly if they put little more sugar of fat in meal. Everyting must be done according to a recipe which they store in memory. Interesting, they write your telefone number but know by heart how much flour or eggs to put in a pie or cake. I started cooking as a teenage, showing always interest in pots and pans. It was time I tried to convince my grandma to prapare everything more ” light” because it’s age when most girls start waching calories intake. It was later I realized why her lunches and dinners taste so yummy and why her soup tastes and smells the same all the time she makes one. My grandma makes best fresh pasta in the world, every time we gather there’s no doubt what will be served on table. We order only šurlice, fuži or pljukanci, fresh pasta traditionally made in some parts or Croatia. She complains often that she would like to cook something else but pasta but we satisfy her desire just for holiday occasions like Easter, Christmas or New Years! Why change something perfect? Her origins are from island of Krk, later married my grandpa from Istria. Both parts of Croatia prepare great pasta and gnocchi but she underlines that she learned everything before marriage, obviously proud of her origin.

It was my grandma’s bday few days ago. We ate meat soup and pljukanci with gulash. It was my task to do a dessert. I choose to use 100% organic pears from garden combined with fine chocolate.

p.s. I plain to ask my grandma to learn me how to make pljukanci, I’ll be happy to share once I learn.

Grandma said she won’t have time to make a dessert after pljukanci, gulash and soup so I was happy to help. My choice was pear and chocolate cake, there are so many recipes one can find online, if you like try this one, it’s really tasty.

My father warned me grany might also make pear crostata (because she allways makes one during pear season) and she did! So we had two pear desserts that day! What a pear party!

It’s important to choose mature pears that contain lot of juice and good quality chocolate. It takes about half an hour to prepare this cake plus 40′ baking time. If you don’t have amaretti, butter buiscits will also do the job, I actually put “cantuccini”, great italian dry almond buiscit that my grandma made about 2 weeks ago. Cantuccini taste great and can last for months if closed well in air proof bowl.

PEAR & CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 and 1/2 cup (200 g) all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup (170 g) unsalted butter

1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 lb (about 200 g) dark chocolate

10 amaretto buiscuits

7-8 medium size pears

300 ml prosecco (or some dessert wine on your choice)

1 tbsp cognac

DIRECTIONS:

First, peel the pears, cut into quarters, remove the seeds and the central hard parts. Place them in a large pan without overlapping, pour in prosecco and cook until complete evaporation of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile chop dark chocolate and steam it adding 1/3 cup of butter cut into small pieces, stir to dissolve well. Then cool. Mix the remaining butter with 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks until you get a nice smooth and light cream, to which you now need to add to the melted lukewarm chocolate. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add finely crushed amaretti biscuits, the flour and sifted baking powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff, stir in the remaining sugar beating for few more seconds. Unite egg whites gently into the chocolate mixture, stirring from the bottom up. Divide dough in two parts, pour the first part into a greased and floured 9 inches cake pan, cover with the pears  and finish with second part of the dough. Put cake in a preheated oven at 350 F for at least 40 minutes. When ready, leave it for about 10 minutes in the cake pan to cool, and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold, as you like it.

Shame I didn’t take picture of my grandma’s crostata, it was very delicious! Well, I hope she’ll make one soon while pear season lasts.

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