Friday, September 2, 2011

Chocolate Cake & Pear Ice Cream

Ice cream maker had been on my wish list for a very long time. My heart's been set on pacojet but it's price was whispering into my ear “Have you gone nuts?! This costs more than our car!”
We were not even looking for such a gadget when we saw a small Kenwood model on our way home from a morning coffee with some friends. As soon as we get home we washed the machine and put the bowl in the freezer. The instructions are saying to freeze the bowl for 24 hours before using, but who's having patience to do that especially when it's a brand new toy. So 4 hours later we were trying to churn out some frozen yoghurt. Of course nothing came out of this. Obviously more time was needed for the bowl to freeze, so we had to wait until the next day.

This time there was time enough to make a custard based ice cream but we didn't want the custard to taste as eggy as a custard normally tastes. This is why we used less eggs and the result was good – the egg yolks were enough to give a smooth consistency while the egg taste wasn't overwhelming. We had some pears on hand and it became a pear ice cream.

Pears do pair well with chocolate so we baked this very quick cake. As a note about the cake I could say I prefer it eaten on the next day as thus the flavours are having time to blend completely.

Chocolate Cake Recipe:
Adapted from the recipe for Gâteau au Chocolat de Nancy from Pierre Hermé's Larousse du Chocolat

  • 100 gr chocolate 70% cocoa (although we used Cacao Barry's Tanzanie chocolate which contains 75% cocoa);
  • 100 gr butter;
  • 3 egg yolks;
  • 3 egg whites;
  • 50 gr granulated sugar;
  • 35 gr almond meal;
  • 40 gr cake flour.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
Butter or line with paper a 20x10cm loaf pan.
Sift together flour and almond meal, set aside.
Melt butter along with chocolate in the microwave taking care not to burn them. Beat in the egg yolks. If the temperature of the butter-chocolate mixture is too high wait until it drops in order not to make poached yolks. Then add in the almond-flour mixture.
In a separate bowl beat egg whites and sugar to stiff glossy peaks. Add a third of the beaten egg whites to the above mixture to soften it a little, then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 35 - 40 minutes.

Pear Ice Cream Recipe:
  • 2 egg yolks;
  • 80 gr granulated sugar;
  • 400 ml whole milk;
  • 200 ml whipping cream;
  • 2 pears;
  • 30 ml water;
  • 1 tsp powdered gum arabic (if it's in crystals, soak them in the water first; if you don't have it, skip it) – it's used to prevent crystals from forming and it could be added either with the milk or with the water;
  • cinnamon stick;
  • 1 clove bud;
  • 3 cardamom pods;
  • 15 ml rum.

Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale.
In a saucepan bring the milk and the rest of the sugar up to a simmer. Pour a small amount of the hot milk over the yolks-sugar mixture to temper, then pour over the remaining milk. Stir well and pour back in the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat till the mixture reaches 85º C.
Let the custard cool completely.
Peel and core the pears, then cut them into small pieces. In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine pears, water, gum arabic and spices. Cook until the pears are soft. Let cool. Remove spices and puree the pears.
Combine custard, pear puree and rum, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Whip the cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pear custard. Proceed according to your ice cream maker instructions.


  1. I love chocolate cake and pear. My favorite recipe to make is chocolate financier with poached pear in the center. :)

  2. Ice-cream is not really my thing but I do appreciate a really good home-made version. I've been tempted to get a machine from time to time but the only cream available here is UHT whipping cream which isn't really the same is it? Your cake, pear, ice-cream combination looks lovely.

  3. Sally, actually the one I'm using is UHT processed. Here it's hard to find whipping cream made out of milk, so UHT or not, I'm glad it's at least from milk and not a soya one.



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