Chocolate Pear Pudding

In the world of fruit, pears are a cook’s greatest ally.
— Laurie Colwin

I bought too many pears. They were on sale, a big bag of Bartletts and in the time it took for them to ripen, everyone lost interest. Suddenly I had a bowl full of ripe pears and no takers. I needed to make something with all of them. Could I?

Why not?

Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking has an entire chapter devoted to pears, expounding on pears alone with cheese, poached pears, pear crisp and pear chutney. She writes of a recipe from Josceline Dimbleby's Book of Puddings, Desserts and Savouries for chocolate pear pudding. This sounded interesting. In the context of dessert, I usually associate pears with a spice or ginger cake, not with chocolate. But why not both? In the spirit of the chocolate ginger banana bread from A Homemade Life, could I make this a chocolate ginger pear pudding?

Why not?

Why Not Chocolate Ginger Pear Pudding

Original recipe is for a 8x8 cake pan. I doubled it for my supply of pears and my 9x13 baking dish.

  • 2 pounds pears, peeled, cored, and cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized or candied ginger (chop fine—you want hints of ginger here and there, and not big chunks to bite into)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter: the 1/2 stick cut into small pieces, and the full stick melted for the batter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 generous tablespoons cocoa powder (stern look, and you are using the Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder, yes?)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup (which I actually used to have a bottle of, during Christmas cookie season, but not at the moment. So I used 3 tbsp molasses)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 baking dish, or spray with Pam. Spread the pears over the bottom of the dish, sprinkle the ginger bits on top, and then dot with the 4 tablespoons cut-up butter.

In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa. Add the brown sugar to the bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the milk, eggs, syrup or molasses and begin to whisk. Gradually add melted butter, continue whisking until all dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. There will be lumps.

Pour batter over the pears. It helps to dollop it here and there and then spread carefully with a silicone spatula. Don't fret if there doesn't seem enough or if it's not perfectly covering all the fruit. It'll be fine.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool, and serve alone or with ice cream.

This was a very interesting dessert. The top was very cake-like, but then underneath the texture was very much like pudding. And a scoop of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey with this cake was awesome.