Dark Chocolate, Pear and Pistachio Cake
With this cake, I followed my usual risky practice of making something for the first time and serving it to a group. I baked the cake the day before, added the ganache on the day it was served and carried it down the street to share with friends celebrating a birthday. I didn’t think to photograph it whole, but when it was unanimously judged to be blog-worthy, our host (thank you, David!) got out his iPhone to capture what remained: see the celebratory table and the candle holes left on the cake.
The recipe is slightly adapted from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller, which I found online here. The recipe is written in grams, but I have converted the measurements to ounces and cups. The chocolate I used was the Lindt 70% Cacao:
200 grams (7 oz.) or 2 Lindt bars, 70% cocoa dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 c. pistachios, plus extra for garnish
2/3 c. softened butter
2/3 c. caster or berry sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 t. baking powder
1 pear, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
150 grams (3 1/2 oz.) or 1 1/2 Lindt bars dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 8-9″ diameter springform cake tin and line bottom with parchment paper. Process chocolate and pistachios in a food processor until coarse crumbs form and set aside. Sift the flour with the baking powder and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, then stir in flour and baking powder mixture. Stir in pistachio and chocolate mixture, then the pear, and pour into cake tin. Bake until an inserted skewer withdraws clean, about 35-45 minutes. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
For chocolate ganache, place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat cream in a saucepan, or in a microwave, to just below boiling and add to chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts (3-5 minutes), then stir until smooth and set aside until the ganache is slightly thickened (5-10 minutes). Smooth over top and sides of cake, scatter with pistachios, set aside to set (20-30 minutes), then serve. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 3 days.