I had a desire today to bake something special, not only for my Birthday but for everyone who is celebrating Birthday in July. This is an easily prepared dessert with a sophisticated taste. Warm poached pears coated in a rich red wine sauce on a top of chocolate heaven - who could resist?
Happy Birthday Dear Friends, I wish you all very sweet year!
Adapted from Gâteau «Reine de Saba» by Pierre Hermé
For the cake:
- 5 oz dark chocolate with 60% cocoa, chopped into very small pieces
- 4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature plus more for greasing
- 3 eggs, separate
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/3 cup potato starch
- 2/3 cup almond flour
For the poached pears:
- 4-6 pears, peeled and cored
- 2 cup red wine, recommend Shiraz or Merlot
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 anise star
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
To make a poached pears: Combine wine, honey, sugar lemon zest, cinnamon stick and anise star, and bring to a boil. When the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer pears for 25-30 minutes until they are tender and are easily poked through with a fork. Remove pears and let them cool. Boil wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced by half.
To make a cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter an 9-inch pan with 2-inch sides.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over but not touching barely simmering water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and continue to stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Let it cool.
In a bowl, sift together the almond flour and potato starch. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in the starch mixture and then the chocolate mixture until blended.
In a clean grease-free bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg whites slowly until they are frothy. Increase the speed, and continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy. Stir one-fourth of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the top. Bake until the top is risen and crusty and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve, top the cake with the poached pears and red wine sauce.