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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Baking for Beginners: Chocolatey Pear Crumble with Cocoa Nibs


Chocolate and pear is one of those classic flavour combinations you just can't go wrong with. And if you've got some stubbornly unripe pears lurking about the place, this is the perfect recipe to soften them up and get their juices flowing. It may look like a heap of dirty potatoes, but it tastes pretty good!

The cocoa nibs are a new discovery of mine - they lend a really intensely chocolatey flavour to the crumble topping and that all important extra helping of crunch. They're also great in cookies as a sophisticated take on a chocolate chip, simply sprinkled over ice cream or just munched straight from the bag.

Chocolatey Pear Crumble with Cocoa Nibs (serves 4)

You'll need:
  • 4 pears
  • 60g + 1tbsp dark muscavado sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g plain flour
  • 110g salted butter (or unsalted, plus a pinch of salt)
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 20g cocoa nibs (optional - I got mine from Artisan du Chocolat)
Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 180c / Gas 4.
  • Peel and chop the pears, then put them in an ovenproof dish. Toss with 1tbsp of the sugar and the vanilla extract.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour and cocoa. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles rough breadcrumbs or lumpy sand.
  • Stir the remaining 60g of sugar and the cocoa nibs (if using) into the flour mixture.
  • Spread the mixture over the pears and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the topping is nice and crunchy.
  • Serve with lashings of custard, cream or ice cream.

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