I originally had this delicious torta at one of my favorite restaurants, A Di Là, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I then lept with joy when I discovered that one my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, had acquired this coveted recipe and made it available to the rest of us less fortunate souls. Since then, it has been a favorite dessert in my repertoire – one I thought appropriate to share for the Holiday season. Allora, buon appetito e Buon Natale ai tutti!
Torta di Pera e Cioccolato
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room-temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 pears, peeled and diced (a softer variety like barlett or bosc is best)
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
Confectioners sugar and iced cream or whipped cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
To brown the butter, melt in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally and cook it until the butter browns and develops a nutty aroma. Remove from the flame and set aside.
Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick, like meringue (this will take up to 10 minutes, depending on your mixer). Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk a few minutes more, until the mixture just begins to lose its volume.
Turn the mixer down to its lowest speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and brown butter in thirds. Mix until just barely combined and then gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. Be careful not to over whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.
Pour into the prepared pan. Distribute the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean (about 45 minutes).
Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings