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Author Notes: I spent the past fall living in Florence, Italy attending cooking classes at La Scuola di Arte Culinaria Firenze "Cordon Bleu." While I was there, I discovered my favorite dessert--a chocolate and pear cake--at Ristorante Boccadama in the Piazza Santa Croce. I went to the restaurant several times to ask for the recipe, but they insisted there wasn't one. So I set out to recreate it myself. Although this version--my first attempt--is somewhat different, I liked it quite a bit and was nonetheless pleased to have discovered a different delicious combination of pear and chocolate. Another variation, which is closer to the Boccadama version, is to stir in the chocolate and the pears cut up in chunks in the batter instead of neatly layering them. —viaggiatoreculinaria
- 2 Abate pears
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (best with Jacques Torres 72% large chips)
- 1 and 3/4 cups flour
- 1 and 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 packet Paneangeli lievito (European baking powder) flavored with vanilla (or can use instead 1 and 1/2 tbsp American baking powder and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 9 x 9 square pan with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan.
- Peal and slice the pears. Layer the bottom of the pan with one of the pears.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until well combined. Then add the olive oil and milk. (If using American baking powder, add the vanilla extract now).
- Combine the flour and the baking powder and add to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time, mixing well.
- Pour part of the batter over the pears in the pan--just enough for a thin layer to cover the pears. Then layer with the other pear sliced and add another layer of batter, this time a little thicker, but still conserving a small amount of batter.
- If using chocolate bars, break them up into chunks. Place chocolate on top in pieces. Then cover with the remaining batter. (The chocolate will sink during the baking process).
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top springs back to the touch and toothpick comes out clean.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Italian Dessert
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