Faintly blushing, a corella pear lineup
There has been a glut of corella pears at the supermaket lately. These pears are smaller and prettier than the regular beurre bosc, William or Packham pear, and they have a reddish yellow tinge that indicates when they are perfect to eat. The pears I've used here are a bit larger than some corellas - have you seen the dessert ones that are the size of a golf ball?
An online search for 'corella pears' unearthed this recipe from Gourmet Traveller. They recommend serving the dessert with tokay (or 'topaque' as it's now known in Australia) or similar dessert wine. I'll tell you one thing, though: you do need something giga-dense to counteract the super-sweetness of the pears and the mega-richness of the chocolate cream!
Baked chocolate cream with ginger-poached pears
170 g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped230 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
80 ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60 g caster sugar
15 g (2 tbsp) crystallised ginger, finely chopped
500 g caster sugar
250 ml Stone’s green ginger wine or ginger beer
4 ripe corella pears, halved, cores removed with a melon baller
1. For ginger-poached pears, combine sugar, wine and 750ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to very low, add pears, cover closely with baking paper and turn occasionally until tender and translucent (1-1½ hours). Cool in syrup and reserve.
2. For chocolate creams, preheat oven to 180C. Combine 120g butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth (3-5 minutes), remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk cream, eggs and 20g caster sugar in a separate bowl until just combined, stir in chocolate mixture, then add crystallised ginger. Pour mixture into four 150ml-capacity ovenproof dishes and bake until just set with a slight wobble in the centre (10-12 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
3. For the ginger caramel syrup: heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and scatter remaining sugar in an even layer in the base of the pan and cook until starting to caramelise (3-4 minutes). Carefully add pears, cut-side down, and cook until golden (5-6 minutes). Add remaining butter and cook until melted (3-5 minutes). Remove pears with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add 80ml poaching liquid to pan, stir to combine and simmer over medium heat until syrupy (3-5 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
4. Serve baked chocolate cream with pears and caramel syrup.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Ingredients, including sugar, eggs, cream, pears, butter, dark chocolate, crystallised ginger and lashings of ginger beer.
Above: Yes, that is a quite a lot of chocolate and butter being melted together; the corella pears are cored using a melon baller; after baking, the chocolate creams resemble unrisen souffles; the pears are cooked in caramel syrup
On their own, the pears are sweet, with a crunchy crust. Together with the chocolate cream, they are a combination of refreshing softness (pears) and rich gooeyness (chocolate)
A final shot of the chocolate cream - it's dark, it's rich, and I may have overcooked it a bit, but it's all mine...