Caramel and Jasmine Macarons and Tea-Infused Recipes

Apparently 9 November is International Tea Day.  When I saw this over the weekend on Instagram, excitement set in as it was the perfect excuse to put the kettle on and infuse some tea into more teatime treats. I don’t normally keep up with national or international food days but Tea Day made me think about how tea and teatime have been top for Mad About Macarons this year. And to celebrate, let’s enjoy one of the recipes from Teatime in Paris!

Adding tea to baking and cooking is such an easy touch to make certain simple recipes sophisticated.  As ever, Paris has been my inspiration, as many fancy pâtisseries and tearooms offer tea-infused pastries for that extra chic Parisian teatime.

Some tea-infused recipes on le blog have not been confined to teatime. One of my favourite main dishes is this easy yet elegant fish recipe with a beurre blanc sauce infused with Lapsang Souchong smoked tea.  Try it and you’ll see how it takes a simple John Dory fish dish to another level. I love the crispy topping but the sauce is the always the winner of compliments at dinner parties – so thank you Chef Vincent David for this one!

Cooking with tea recipes

Top: Herb-hugging John Dory with Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc;  Below: Tea-infused chocolate macarons; Green Tea Rice Pudding

I was in shock yesterday when I remembered these One Night in Paris-Bangkok (Mariages Frères) tea-infused chocolate macarons and partying with a wig. Moving on to more recent comfort food was this rice pudding recipe infused with Theodor’s latest aromatic green tea called Little Bear, with notes of ginger and mandarine. I see the Insolent Parisian has yet another delicious tea-infused vanilla cream recipe.

Tea-infused recipes are also included in my new book, Teatime in Paris, such as these Honey, Rose and Green Tea Madeleines from the first chapter – and ending with the final Tea Party recipes, made to mix-and-match, including this Chocolate-Earl Grey Tart with Cointreau Crumble Puffs.

tea infused recipes in Teatime in Paris

Now, thanks to Waverley Books, I can share the recipe for the salted caramel cream filling from the new book – although instead I infused jasmine tea into the cream and omitted the salt to let the tea shine through.

caramel and jasmine macarons

Caramel and Jasmine macarons – with a cup of Jasmine tea …


Recipe adapted from Teatime in Paris - the salt has been omitted and the cream is slightly increased to allow for the infusion with the Jasmine tea. First, follow the basic macaron recipe (pages 146-150 in Teatime in Paris – or from Mad About Macarons) and add caramel colouring.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 20+30 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Caramel & Jasmine filling:

110g cream, warmed
12g jasmine tea
1 x 2g sheet gelatine
100g sugar
60g butter
150g mascarpone

Heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the jasmine tea.  As soon as the cream boils, take off the heat, put a lid on and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Filter out the tea, pushing as much of the cream out of the tea as possible using a wooden spoon. Set aside.

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes and reheat the cream.

Heat the sugar with a tablespoon of water over medium heat in a small saucepan until a golden, syrupy caramel forms. Stir only when it starts to change colour and watch that it doesn’t colour too much (i.e. it can burn quickly – and there’s nothing worse than bitter burnt caramel, so keep you’re eye on it!). This should take no more than 10 minutes in total. Turn down the heat and add the warmed cream gradually (ensure it’s warm, otherwise you’ll have the boiling caramel spitting at you!)

Take off the heat and melt in the butter, stirring the tea-infused caramel with a wooden spoon.

Add the gelatine (squeezed of excess water) and stir. Leave to cool on the counter for 15 minutes.

Whisk in the mascarpone vigorously (or use an electric whisk) until you have a smooth texture.

Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer the caramel cream to a piping bag, pipe on the filling to each macaron couple, topping off with the other macaron shell to assemble.

Caramel and jasmine tart with Parisian macarons

I’ll leave you with this Caramel, Walnut and Maple tart, another of the recipes from Teatime in Paris I made this weekend to accompany the macarons (I did say I was looking for excuses to bake!).  Here I also infused Jasmine tea into the cream before pouring into the caramel. I also infused the tea into the melted butter for these almond tuiles, another of the recipes. It’s easy to adapt so many varieties of your best recipes to celebrate your favourite teas.

caramel jasmine macarons with caramel-maple and walnut tart from Teatime in Paris

All that’s missing is a cup of tea and some company. So, what’s your favourite tea and do you bake or cook with it?  Please feel free to share a tea recipe with us in the comments and I’ll add it to this post.

Happy Tea Celebration Day!

French Apple and Cinnamon Custard Tart – An Easy Yolk Recipe you HAVE to try!

The last time I made this tart, I earmarked the recipe and put it aside in a special file called “Best egg yolk recipes: must make for le blog”.  That was last autumn.

Luckily this delicious custard tart and I were reunited with me falling on the stairs – there’s always a silver lining! A forced foot rest due to ankle sprain and torn ligaments has had me rather house-bound and frustrated at cancelling pastry and chocolate walks in Paris but an office clean-out has meant that the tempting yolk recipe file has resurfaced from the back of the cupboard!

Alsacian French Apple Tart Recipe

This sumptuous dessert recipe is also ridiculously easy – especially if you cheat and buy ready-made pastry.  However, I do urge you to make your own sweet pastry here, as adding that extra touch of cinnamon in the base had even my cinnamon-avoiding husband ask for a THIRD slice.

Techniques such as blind-baking the pastry beforehand is also cleverly replaced by simply laying out the apples and baking them before adding the filling. For macaron, meringue, and financier lovers, then you’ll appreciate having another egg yolk recipe up your sleeve and the good news is that this filling uses 4 egg yolks!  The filling couldn’t be simpler – just whisk the whole lot together and pour on top of the apples.

Easy best recipe for French apple tart

Alsatian Apple and Cinnamon Custard Tart

Recipe adapted from ‘Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne’ in France the Beautiful Cookbook by the Scotto Sisters – with extra cinnamon and reduced sugar in the filling. If you make tartlets, either butter tartlet moulds or use 6 tartlet rings.

Serves 6

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Makes one 25cm tart or 6 tartlets

300g sweet pastry (with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
2-3 apples (Golden Delicious or Cox’s Pippin)
4 egg yolks
75g sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g double (heavy) cream

Alsatian apple cinnamon tart

1. Preheat the oven to 210°C/410°F (gas 6 1/2). Butter a 25cm tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press into the tin. Chill in the fridge.

2. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry, starting from the outside and overlapping the slices slightly in the form of a rose.  Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and cream.  Pour over the apples and bake for 35 minutes (25 minutes for tartlets) or until the apples are tender.

Apple cinnamon French custard Tartlet egg yolk recipe

No need for any ice cream or cream; just enjoy on its own served warm with a cup of your favourite tea for the perfect Sunday teatime treat.

French apple and cinnamon tarts

A Fragrant Rice Pudding Recipe with Little Bear Tea from Theodor Paris

The first Autumn chill hit the Paris air last week. Suddenly the kitchen now feels a cosy haven again for the family to wander in and see what’s cooking as they gravitate towards the warming oven or stove, happy to see their favourite comfort food recipes return.

Curling up on the sofa this weekend with a special pot of fragranced green tea, my mind drifted to one of our most comforting classics: warm rice pudding. Normally, I either make my rice pudding using egg yolks for a rich treat or simply bake it as my Mum and Granny did – but I discovered this simple yet intriguing twist on the traditional recipe from Theodor Paris.

For a start it uses a lot more milk than I would normally use and the process is simply stirring it now and again over a warm stove. The magic ingredient, however, is the finest quality fragranced tea. As the rice gradually thickens and the milk reduces, the tea’s scent beautifully permeates the pudding with all its delicate flavours shining through.

The tea I used is called PETITE OURSE, or Little Bear, a special edition recently released by Theodor and created by its talented founder, Guillaume Leleu (aka The Insolent Parisian), for the annual Paris Revelations Fair. It’s a Chinese green tea very delicately perfumed with notes of mandarin, a subtle warm hint of ginger and finished off with mallow flowers and both sunflower and safflower petals.

Petite Ourse fragranced green tea from Theodor Paris with macaron

Little Bear green tea with a chocolate and orange blossom macaron from “Teatime in Paris”.

Petite Ourse is one of three new special edition blends beautifully named “Some amongst us are contemplating the stars”. As I discovered in this previous macaron tea tasting, I can’t believe how tea like this can evoke so many smiles through a few sips. It moves away from the ordinary, our normal tea comfort zone.

Just tasting the other two teas tickles the palate with their surprising finishes: PERSEUS black tea has notes of comforting bergamot, yuzu and plum plus tickles us further with bits of orange and carrot (yes, carrot!); but just tasting the complex but brilliant PHŒNIX, with its exotic blend of Brazilian maté, chocolate, marzipan, liquorice root and pink peppercorns has you head for the stars with its final delicate kick of chilli – I bet that would make an adventurous rice pudding!

Theodor Tea Totem design created for revelations fair of 2015 Paris

Guillaume Leleu presenting the Totem and 3 new teas looking at the stars at the Grand Palais Paris

But it wasn’t just the three new teas as stars of the show;  two designers hailing from the Camondo School were inspired to design this “Totem” structure for Guillaume Leleu, representing the artistic element of tea for the Revelations Fair.

Inspired by witnessing the creative behind-the-scenes artistic precision at Theodor’s laboratory on the Seine, both Nicolas Jandrot and Florence Tajan (also pictured above) used 3 materials –  wood, metal and glass – to create a metaphor for the successive states of the finest tea, from tree to teacup.

Totem tea design structure of Theodor Paris

The Totem structure will be taking off around the world to be shown in destinations such as Mexico, Japan and Korea – all where Theodor are represented. With its three antennae looking to the north, I have this fascination for “Petite Ourse”, or Ursa minor, whose brightest star stamps the North Pole and whose cove points the way to the light.

Theodor says,

Petite Ourse is an occasion to dive in to the delicacies of a green tea perfumed with major notes of mandarine and ginger, whose North Star points the way to the light. A blend that immerses us back into childhood and our dear Teddy Bears, so reassuring and protective, to whom we dearly hold on for comfort.

Slowly stirring the senses as the delicate mandarin rice pudding thickened on the stove, I realised I had come out of some kind of childhood comfort zone just by trying something a bit more adventurous yet still enveloped in a comforting world with the most fragrant rice pudding I’ve known.

tea-fragranced warm rice pudding the perfect Autumn teatime treat

Rice Pudding Recipe Infused with Tea

Recipe courtesy of Theodor Paris.  While they use their Rooibos tea from the “Weeds” collection named “Une autre idée?“, I replaced the tea with 18g Petite Ourse, a Chinese green tea predominately fragranced with mandarine and ginger. I find the amount of stirring is needed more at the beginning but as the rice starts to thicken towards the end and the milk gradually evaporates with a more concentrated tea flavour, less is needed so you can go about making the rest of dinner!

Makes 4 little bear bowls of rice pudding

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time:
10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

1 Litre of milk
100 grams of round grain rice
72 grams of powdered sugar
15 to 20 grams of (Theodor’s recipe uses rooïbos)

1. Pour the litre of milk in a saucepan. Add the 72 grams of powdered sugar and bring the whole to a boil. Remove from the heat and brew the tea (Petite Ourse) for 10 minutes in the sweet milk. Once the brewing time is up, it will be time to filter your milk. The nice smell of the brew will already be perfuming your kitchen.

2. Put the milk to a boil a second time, then lower the heat to a minimum and rain in the 100 grams of round grain rice. Let the whole cook for 55 minutes at a very low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the formation of a too thick film on the surface. If a film forms itself anyhow, do not worry, a good stirring may very well make it disappear. You can also remove it directly off of the saucepan. With a little more patience, let the rice cool down in order to dispatch it in your cups.

You can place your rice pudding in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours…but we prefer to taste it just finished, accompanied with an aromatic and elegant chai based on an Indian black tea called ” Travel to india ” or what about a tea that reminds us of mulled wine and spices with Theodor’s “OH-LA-LA!”.

Creamy warm rice pudding recipe using green tea

So let me introduce you to Little Bear’s warm rice pudding, a real tea-infused treat that will simply have you heading for the stars. If you follow the GPS, it should be 90°N/10°S.

You’ll be bowled over!

Pure 100% Cacao Chocolate Mousse Recipe by Patrice Chapon

How many chocolate storefronts do you know resemble dark chocolate?  Every time I walk past the Chapon boutique in Paris’s growing sweet-lined rue du Bac, I could almost lick off the writing imagining it’s made of cocoa butter and gold leaf.

You may remember my visit to the first ever Bac Sucré Event in June this year, where I already wrote a bit about Chocolaterie Chapon. During the event, my daughter Lucie and I signed up for a short talk by Patrice Chapon, explaining how he has been making his chocolate since 1985 from “bean-to-bar” from his workshop in Chelles (a suburb 20km north-east of Paris).

Chapon chocolate maker Paris

Originally a restaurant chef then pastry chef in Deauville, I love how Monsieur Chapon then popped over the Channel for a short stint as official ice-cream maker to the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace – how cool is it to have had the Queen Mother surprise you one day with rose petals from the royal gardens, asking you to make a sorbet with them? After inspiration from Harrod’s food hall, he realised his real vocation was back in France making chocolate and by 2005, he opened this second shop in Paris.

It takes 10 days to make the chocolate as we see it in the store. Even the cacao growers in the tropics (10° North or South of the Equator) are amazed at what final result can be achieved from these simple looking beans.

He procures the beans after they’ve been fermented and dried, then does the rest himself. He grills them – 20 kilos at a time – for about 30 minutes at 105°C until they start to smell and taste like chocolate, even if still bitter at this stage. After grinding to obtain cocoa nibs then 8 hours maturing, he adds sugar (and powdered milk for milk chocolate), he continues to grind then liquify the cacao by a method called conching. Any acids or bitterness disappear after at least 48 hours and as if by magic, the end result after tempering and mixing, we’re left to discover the end result.

Chapon chocolate shop Paris rue du Bac

Tasting our way through the characteristic tropical-patterned packaged chocolate bars, each variety has its own subtle but particular flavours: Cuba has notes of spice and exotic fruits, Lucie agreed that Ghana has banana notes, and Madagascar has real after-notes of red fruits.

With wide-eyed children looking on at the generous samples laid out in front of us, Chapon surprised them with his witty Willy Wonka remark in French, “With this ticket, adults have a tasting of a chocolate mousse cone; children have their tasting of salsify” (which is a popular root that’s served as vegetable here, especially I hear at the school canteen). Their confused expressions were quickly transformed as their eyes feasted on chocolate lollipops.

domes fondant au sel or salted dark chocolate domes best award paris

My eyes were for the salted praline Dômes au Sel, winners of the Mairie de Paris Chocolate Grand Prix in 2003.

Chapon chocolaterie Paris rue du Bac

True to the chocolate bars, the mousses were so dense in chocolate, yet light and airy.  Chapon states that he uses about 20-30% less chocolate in his mousses due to the high cocoa content than more standard chocolate mousses that our grandmothers made.

As I left the boutique, realising again that I’d bought way too much chocolate (confessions of a chocoholic), I noticed that the recipe for the legendary chocolate mousse was printed on the brown paper bag.

pure dark chocolate mousse Venezuela Chapon

With so many chocolate varieties to choose from, I thought I’d be adventurous and go for the 100% pure cacao Rio Caribe of Venezuela.  On the tablet’s back label, it even specifies “100% minimum”, which would excite any cocoa connoisseur!

If I have to make one remark, the recipe’s chocolate quantity of 185g isn’t that ideal for us shoppers, since most of the tablets are 75g and so with two bars I was 35g short of pure Venezuela.  As it’s 100%, also note that it’s drier than most classic mousses.  The aftertaste is intense – a little goes a long way to appreciate the flavours. Just as in wine-tasting, I’d even go as far as to say that this chocolate mousse is earthy or as we say in wine terms, “sous bois” or undergrowth (for more on tasting, see my post about different notes on the nose).  It was almost leafy or, dare I say, mossy. In French, moss is mousse – so I’ll leave you to groan at your own pun!

Chapon Paris Chocolate Mousse Recipe pure cacao

Chapon Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Patrice Chapon states the best chocolate to use for his mousse is either Equagha, équateur, Mexique or 100% Rio Caribe. His new tablet, Brésil, would also be good.

185g Pure Origin Chocolate Chapon (I used 100% Venezuela Rio Caribe)
100g semi-skimmed fresh milk
1 egg yolk
6 egg whites
37g cane sugar

Chapon chocolate mousse recipe ingredients

1. Heat the milk until it boils. Grate the chocolate in a large bowl.

2. Pour the hot milk over the grated chocolate and stir gently until well mixed using a wooden spoon.  Add the yolk and continue to stir until the mixture is brilliant.

3. In a separate bowl, whip up the egg whites using an electric whisk, adding half of the sugar at first and then at the end when they are whipped and fluffy (but not firm).

4. Gradually incorporate the egg whites, folding it in delicately until all mixed together and smooth.

5. Either keep it in the bowl or transfer to individual serving bowls (I would suggest little ones here, as this mousse is so intense!)

6. Refrigerate overnight (I suggest covering with cling film) and enjoy next day.

Pure chocolate mousse Patrice Chapon Recipe

Serving suggestion: scoop the mousse …

or spoon into Almond Tuiles from my new book, Teatime in Paris!

100% pure chocolate mousse recipe by Chapon served with French tuiles

Serve with French Almond Tuiles for dessert

If you’re in Paris, either drop in and taste the mousse for yourself at Chapon’s boutiques.
They will also be taking part again this year in the Salon du Chocolat, 28th October to 1st November, Porte de Versailles.

69, rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Tel. 01-42 22 95 98

Information on the 2015 Salon du chocolat.


For more chocolate and pastry treats, join me and my friend, Ann Mah, for a tasting down rue du Bac in Paris.

Tarte Tatin – An Easy Classic French Dessert Recipe

According to my old 1984 edition of Larousse Gastronomique (given as a wedding present as a young Scot about to embark in a French kitchen), the Tarte Tatin was first served in Paris at Maxim’s giving a bow to its creators, the famous Tatin sisters.

Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin came up with this irresistible dessert quite by accident at the end of the 19th century while running their hotel/restaurant in the French Sologne region, south of Paris.  The story goes (I have two conflicting ones from different cookbooks) that, as the apples were caramelising in sugar and butter in the oven for their tarte solognote, they either realised they’d forgotten the pastry or that they’d burned the apples, so they simply plopped the pastry on top, baked then flipped the tart upside down, and Mon Dieu, look what turned up? From then on, it was served as their speciality until they retired in 1906, although they never called it a Tarte Tatin.

Tarte Tatin a French classic dessert recipe

Newly married, I was totally intimidated by my French Mother-in-Law’s Tarte Tatin. Her dessert looked so sumptuous and grand with its glistening slices of warm caramelised apples sitting on top of a crispy pastry, just oozing with the sticky juices. How did she do it?

Pressing her short and simple recipe in my hand, I was assured it was easy and inrattable; “You can’t go wrong”, she said.
Well I did get it wrong.

For a start, I used apples that didn’t survive the cooking process (Pink Lady) and when I quickly turned the pan upside down for the grand finale de-moulding moment, some of the apples stuck to the bottom and the rest sat there miserably as light, uncaramelised mush. I thought of inventing a new Apple Sauce Tart but somehow it didn’t have quite the same “accident appeal” as that of the elderly Tatin Sisters.

So, lesson learned: use good quality tart apples such as Granny Smith or French Golden Delicious. As a result of a few other little helpful tweaks to add to mother-in-law’s instructions, you can also now be rest assured that what flips out at the end will be much more of a pleasure!

Tarte Tatin French recipe for caramelised apple tart


Serves 4-6

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: About 1 hour

2 tbsp water
120g caster sugar (plus 2 tbsp)
50g unsalted butter (plus 15g extra)
pinch salt (optional)
5-6 apples (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith)
200g puff pastry (ideally ready-rolled/thawed, if frozen)

For best results, butter a round 25cm deep baking tin, or use a good solid-based ovenproof frying pan

tarte tatin recipe method

1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the water and sugar together and, over a medium heat, leave to bubble and simmer until a light golden brown caramel forms.  Take off the heat, stir in the butter (and salt if using) until the caramel is smooth and immediately pour into the baking tin.

2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (gas 5).  Peel the apples, cut them in half, remove the cores with a sharp knife (or use an apple corer) and cut them again horizontally.

3. Arrange the apples upright in a circle and pack them as tight as you can (they’ll shrink while cooking), filling as much space as possible in the middle.  Cut up any leftover apple and stuff them into the spaces.  Dot with the extra butter (or brush with melted butter) and lightly sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

4. Remove the apples from the oven to cool slightly as you prepare the pastry.

5. Ideally your puff is ready rolled so there’s no need to do anything. (If the puff pastry is in a block, roll it out to about 2mm thickness and cut out a circle very slightly larger (2-3cm) than the size of the pan you’re using). Place the puff pastry circle on top of the apples, tucking in the sides as far down the edges as you can, as it will neatly hold the apples when turned over at the end. Pierce a small hole in the middle of the pastry to allow any steam to escape – this will prevent the puff pastry from puffing up too much while baking.

6. Bake in the oven for a further 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apple juices leak around the edges.

7. Leave to cool. Run a sharp knife along the edges just to help release the sticky beast. To turn out the tart, cover the pan with a large deep plate (to catch the juices) and, using a hand towel, hold the pan and plate together and flip upside down quickly, pastry side down.

Serve slightly warm either on its own or with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Tarte tatin a classic French dessert with apples

This is my first recipe article to be published over at French Entrée Magazine!


Upside-Down Dark Chocolate, Coffee and Pear Cake

The pears just sat there showing off their perfect hippy contours in the fruit bowl, pride of place on the breakfast table.

Really. No takers? It was the same for lunch, goûter, and dinner. Were they just too pretty to look at?  I decided it was “conference” time with the family last weekend; would they also like their pears hugged in chocolate, the unanimous response was

“Oh, we love pears!”

Upside down chocolate coffee pear cake recipe

I hit on the idea of this cake while trying out a delicious recipe for a Drunken Damson Dessert by Angela Reid from Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipe Book. As I poured the chocolate mix on top of my damson-replaced nectarines soaked in the gin, I was thinking that next time I should try a non-alcoholic version and flip it upside-down so that the pears would be caramelised and glistening on top – rather like a Tarte Tatin style chocolate cake.

nectarine and chocolate pudding

This is nearly a flourless cake since I added just a couple of tablespoons, just to cake it up a bit but for gluten-free diets you can skip the flour.  I also love adding coffee to pear (see this coffee and poached pear recipe); the coffee also brings out the dark chocolate’s intensity.

The photos really don’t do this cake justice.  The family didn’t give me much time to photograph it and, as it was at the end of the day, the sun was playing up and I was juggling the rest of dinner.  There wasn’t even time to do a photo set-up. Plonk! Snap! But enough of my excuses. I suggest you make this and show me your better shots!  What counts is that it tastes fabulous and I’ll have to make it again soon.

upside down dark chocolate coffee pear cake recipe

Upside-Down Chocolate, Coffee & Pear Cake

Serves 6-8

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes

2 tbsp water

100g sugar
25g butter

3 pears (Guyot or Conference)

Chocolate Cake:
50g sugar

4 eggs
250g dark chocolate (at least 64% cocoa solids)
175g butter (unsalted)
1 tpsp coffee powder

2 tbsp plain flour (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (gas 6). Butter a 25cm cake pan (no need to if using a silicone round cake mould, or moule à manqué that’s non-stick).

2. Make a caramel by stirring the sugar into the water in a heavy-based saucepan.  Leave to simmer (don’t stir at this stage) until a golden caramel forms then stir in the butter.  Immediately pour the caramel into the cake pan.

pears in cake pan on top of caramel and before the chocolate mix is poured on top

3. Peel the pears and cut them in half.  Remove the cores with a sharp knife then cut each half into three slices. Arrange them as packed together as you can on top of the caramel (they’ll shrink as they cook) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove to cool slightly.

4. Using a hand whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Break up the chocolate into pieces and melt it together with the butter and coffee powder in a heat-proof bowl on top of a pan of simmering water (bain-marie), ensuring that the water doesn’t touch the chocolate bowl. When smooth and melted, whisk together the chocolate into the egg, then add the flour (if using), mix then pour the chocolate batter on top of the pears.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

5. Leave to cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Using a sharp blade of a knife, go around the sides to ensure nothing is sticking.  Place a large serving plate over the pan and, holding on to both plate and pan, flip the plate upside down to demould the cake.

dark chocolate coffee pear cake

Serve either cold or slightly warm with cream but it’s just as good entirely on its own.

Next time I’m adding some candied ginger and perhaps a teaspoon of ground ginger to replace the coffee. What do you think?  Are you more for classic plain or spicy with pear and chocolate?

chocolate caramel pear coffee cake

Update: An intense caramel photo shot with the pear and chocolate. Ah, is that better? I made this again and have updated the recipe to suggest you caramelise the pears just a little longer in the oven and have adjusted step 3 accordingly. But if you prefer the previous more natural poached look, then leave in the oven for just 10 minutes in step 3.