Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Torte di Pere E Cioccollato (Cake with Pear and Chocolate)

To celebrate Labor Day, we did jobs around the house. While I thought it was most appropriate to labor in honor of Labor Day, the kids did not think I was at all funny. However, they performed their tasks admirably with only minor complaining. Chloe helped Katie paint the house, and the boys helped me with yard work. To reward them for a job well-done, I decided to bake something.

Our last order from the food co-op contained an abundance of fruit. I was able to use some of the plums in a tart, and Katie finished off the nectarines. However, we still had a bunch of pears on the verge of going bad. So, I googled "pear" and "dessert" and searched through a bunch of recipes. The recipe that sounded most intriguing was Torte di Pere E Cioccollato (pear cake with chocolate chunks) from the restaurant Al Di La in Brooklyn. If I ever make it again to New York, this restaurant is on the to-do list. There are a lot of people who rave about it online. Several websites that have posted the recipe, but I think it was the Smitten Kitchen that somehow got hold of it in the first place.

There were three things that convinced me I needed to make this cake. First, the name alone sounds exotic. I want to start learning Italian. Second, it contains chocolate. Need I say more? And finally, browned butter is added to the batter. My favorite cookies in the world have a browned butter frosting. I love the flavor the browned butter adds.

So, I began my Labor Day labor of love.

The cake was fairly easy to make, and I only modified the recipe slightly. Instead of using bittersweet chocolate, I substituted semisweet. It's what I had on hand, and I'm not the biggest fan of bittersweet.

The cake turned out pretty darn amazing, and it was completely gone in no time. It reminds me of the types of cakes I've had in Europe. This recipe is a definite keeper I will want to make again for friends and family or a birthday at the office.

Therefore, if you're like me and can't just pop over to Al Di La whenever the mood strikes, give this recipe a try. I'm sure it's the next best thing.

To me, simple yet beautiful.

Ready for snarfing! Nom, nom, nom.

Torte di Pere E Cioccollato (Cake with Pear and Chocolate)
from Al Di La and adapted from the recipe post by Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 pears, peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter and flour a 9-in. springform pan.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil continue to cook and stir constantly until the butter browns. As soon as the butter begins to change color, remove from heat. Be careful! I've burned the butter many times because I get impatient. If you remove the butter too early from the stove, that's OK. You can always heat it up again. But, once it burns, you have to throw it out.

Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. This can take 5 minutes or more. Add sugar and beat a few minutes more. If you are using a hand mixer, it may take double the time.

Alternate adding flour and butter (⅓ flour, ½ butter, ⅓ flour, ½ butter, ⅓ flour). After each ingredient is added, mix on lowest speed until just combined. You can also use a spatula to fold in ingredients. Be careful to not overmix and cause batter to lose its volume.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle diced pears and chocolate chips gently over top. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with a dollop whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.


  1. 'To celebrate Labor Day, we did jobs around the house.'

    We would get along. But Mr. Other P would never talk to you again.

  2. Curtis,

    (And so was this cake).

    You should definitely head south and visit sometime. We'd love to see you guys.

    Robert and Emily in Orderville

  3. We made this again last night and it was even better than we remembered! Thanks for sharing.


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