The Pocket Bakery
Adding cocoa and a different type of oil to the olive oil pastry brought about this unusual, very rich chocolate pudding with pears, encased in the thinnest pastry. The filling is a type of ganache, or thick chocolate cream, but this one contains eggs and so can be baked without spoiling. Use ripe yellow pears, not green conference pears. Yellow pears have a creamy flesh that goes well with chocolate. Serve with whipped cream.
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You Will Need
First make the pastry. Put the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a mixing bowl, or stand mixer with dough hook attached, and mix in the oil. Add 75ml/2½fl oz of the water and mix – adding more water until you have a soft dough that does not stick to the mixing bowl but is a little tacky to touch.
Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead until completely smooth on a lightly floured worktop. It will feel elastic and soft. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Now make the chocolate ganache filling. Put the whipping cream in a pan with the caster sugar. Dissolve the caster sugar over a low heat, bring to the boil then remove from the heat. In a separate pan melt the chocolate over a very low temperature – it must become hotter than 40°C (just above hand-hot).
Transfer to a bowl with the cream mixture and stir the two together – the mixture will become thick. Add the melted butter and stir until glossy. Add the beaten egg yolks and mix. At this point the ganache will curdle, but beat it well with a wooden spoon for a minute or two and it will cool, come together and become quite elastic and glossy again. Cover the surface of the chocolate filling with cling film, to prevent a skin forming, and set to one side.
Take the dough from the fridge and dust the worktop with a very small amount of flour. Roll the dough into a disc, about the size of a dessert plate. Leave for 2 minutes for it to relax (making sure it is not sticking to the worktop – you may need more flour). Roll again very thin, until it is the size of a dinner plate and about ¼cm/1/10-inch thick.
Place the disc of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. Gently pull at the edge, holding the dough lightly in floured fingers, stretching at one point and moving around the whole circumference of the dough. The circle will expand in size until the dough roughly covers the whole of the baking sheet.
You will find that if you work patiently and slowly, and allow the dough to rest between stretching, from time to time, it will allow you to stretch it quite thin. If little tears appear, it does not matter, you will be surprised how this dough does not change shape during cooking and how the tears do not get bigger. When the dough is about 40cm/15 inches across, it is ready to fill.
Spread the chocolate filling on to the pastry base, covering an area the size of a small dinner plate. Arrange the pears in a star pattern on top of the filling then bring the surplus pastry towards the centre of the pie, gathering it in pleats at the middle. Trim off the thicker edges of the gathered pastry. Refrigerate the pie for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry has dried out and is crisp. It may leak a little in places, but do not worry as it will look tidy when removed from the baking tray after cooling. Allow to cool on the baking tray completely, then dust a little icing sugar on top. If you really want to go to town, shave a few extra bits of chocolate over the pie before dusting with icing sugar.