20 Apr 2008


The pear and chocolate combo always seems to be popular with the foodblogging community. Take a peek at other sites, magazines and cookery books and you will always find inspiration for these two ingredients.

I saw Jamie Oliver making this dessert on television a few weeks ago, and this recipe is perfect for using up some of those egg whites that have been stored away in the freezer.

I adapted the recipe in various ways, firstly by using toasted flaked almonds instead of the hazelnuts. Also, I whipped 200ml of double cream and then stirred into this 200ml of Greek yogurt, and I only used a teaspoon or so of icing sugar to sweeten the cream, instead of the 50g suggested, because I'm not very keen on sweetened cream..

The meringue was crisp on the outside and soft and sticky inside. The topping was fragrant from the vanilla cream and the grated orange zest and the chocolate sauce was smooth and rich, with a hint of ginger.

Here is Jamie's original recipe.



ISBN 9780718152437 - Page 39

Serves: 6 to 8 people

You will need:

4 large egg whites, 200g unrefined golden caster sugar, a pinch of sea salt, 100g hazelnuts with skins removed, 2 x 400g tins of halved pears in syrup, 2 pieces of stem ginger thinly sliced (optional), 200g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), 400ml double cream, 50g sifted icing sugar, 1 vanilla pod halved and seeds scraped out, zest of 1 orange.

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and line a 40 x 25cm baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
2. Put your egg whites into a clean bowl, whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the meringue mixture is white and glossy.
3. Dot each corner of the greaseproof paper with a blob of meringue, then turn it over and stick it to the baking tray. Spoon the meringue out on to the paper. Using the back of a spoon, shape and swirl it into an A4 size rectangle. Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour or until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside. At the same time, bake the hazelnuts on a separate tray in the oven for an hour or until golden brown.
4. Drain the tins of pears, reserving the syrup from one tin. Cut each pear half into three slices. Pour the pear syrup into a saucepan with the ginger and warm gently over a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Take off the heat and snap the chocolate into the saucepan, stirring with a spoon until it's all melted.
5. Take the meringue and hazelnuts out of the oven and leave to cool. Place the meringue on a board or platter.
6. Whip the cream with the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla seeds until it forms smooth, soft peaks. Smash the toasted hazelnuts (in a tea towel) and sprinkle half of them over the top of the meringue. Spoon half the whipped cream over the top and drizzle with some of the chocolate sauce (if the sauce has firmed up, melt it slightly by holding the saucepan over a large pan of boiling water).
7. Divide most of the the pear pieces evenly over the top. Pile over the rest of the whipped cream and pears. Drizzle with some more chocolate sauce, then sprinkle over the remaining toasted hazelnuts with some grated orange zest.
8. Serve straight away. If you're making this in advance, get everything ready and assemble at the last minute.