– 85g butter, plus extra for tin
– 85g golden caster sugar, plus extra for tin
– 85g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
– 3 eggs, separated
– 85g ground almonds
– 3 very ripe pears, peeled halved and cored
– Icing sugar, for dusting
Cut a circle into baking parchment, thus fitting the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Afterwards melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush once more with butter.
Heat the over to 180’C/fan 160’C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter over a bowl of hot water, remove from the heat. Stir in the brandy and leave to cool. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and highly viscous. Fold the mixture into the chocolate with the hazelnuts.
In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until soft peaks appear. Try not to whisk them too stiffly or you will have an issue folding them in.
Stir in a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest in two separate additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut side down.
Bake for 40 minutes until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar and serve.