What a delectable dessert. It’s a rich, fudgey brownie, but the freshly poached pears lighten it somewhat, making it not so sweet and extremely more-ish. Poaching the pears is definitely what takes the longest, but that is really a matter of chucking everything into a pot and leaving it to simmer for almost an hour. I didn’t have a great dish for cooking – it would be ideal to have separate ramekins for each pear, but I just used half of a casserole dish. While this didn’t present quite so well, because the mixture was a singular mass it meant that the brownie was perhaps more gooey than it may have been otherwise.
- 4 brown pears, peeled and cored (but leave the stalk so that you have something to grab them by)
- 6 cups of water
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 T vanilla essence
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 3 star anise
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/4 c caster sugar
- 200 g dark chocolate
- 120 g butter
- 1/2 c caster sugar
- 1/4 c plain flour
- 3 eggs
- icing sugar, to dust
- vanilla ice-cream, to serve
- In a pot, add the pears, water, vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, brown sugar and first measure of caster sugar. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for about 45 minutes (you don’t want the pears to be too soft).
- Preheat oven to 200°C bake.
- In one bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter.
- Separately, mix the second measure of caster sugar, flour and eggs. Stir through the melted chocolate.
- In a dish (casserole or ramekin) sit each of the pears. Pour the chocolate brownie mixture into the dish, so that hopefully the mixture reaches about 2/3 of the way up the pear. You may need to turn or rotate the pears to ensure better coverage.
- Bake the pears in the brownie for about 20 minutes. The less you cook it the more gooey the brownie will be, but I suppose there is a limit so that you don’t just end up eating batter!
- Serve with ice-cream or yoghurt and a light dusting of icing sugar.