Chocolate Financier with Caramel Tea-Poached Pears

December 17, 2012

You know, I had a post already written up about my current state of panic. And how I’ve done absolutely nothing for the holidays; not a single thing baked, not a single pressie bought, not one Christmas meal planned and shopped for. And how the thought of fighting other frenzied shoppers in over-crowded malls terrified me during the last few days to the point where I would rather sit in a dark corner and forget that Christmas ever existed.

I binned that whole post immediately because it just wasn’t right to be complaining and moaning about such things. Not when there are others who just had their lives ruined so tragically. Who gives a crap about presents and planning the perfect Christmas meal? I don’t. Not anymore. Waking up with my dog beside me and knowing my loved ones are still here? That’s the only thing that matters to me now. That and being able to catch up with said loved ones over cake.

I’m at my happiest when there’s chocolate and lashings of caramel involved so needless to say, this one didn’t last long in my house. Eat this then give your nearest and dearest a few extra hugs xx

Chocolate Financier with Caramel Tea-Poached Pears
Serves 6
Caramel Tea-Poached Pears
  1. 1 litre water
  2. 125g caster sugar
  3. 20g tea leaves (something light, fragrant and floral or fruity. I used French Earl Grey)
  4. 1 strip of orange rind
  5. 4-6 small corella or beurre bosc pears
  6. 225g caster sugar
  7. 60ml water
  8. 30g unsalted butter
  9. 2 Tbl cream
Chocolate Financier Cake
  1. 130g unsalted butter
  2. 40g plain flour
  3. 5g cornflour
  4. 10g Dutch processed cocoa powder
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 130g egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
  7. 130g caster sugar
  8. 50g hazelnut meal
  9. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  10. 120g dark chocolate, melted and cooled a little
Caramel Tea-Poached Pears
  1. To poach the pears, bring the water, sugar, tea leaves and orange rind to a boil in a saucepan then turn off the heat, shut the lid and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Strain into another saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile peel pears, halve lengthwise then take the core out with a melon baller. Submerge the pears in the strained tea liquid, bring back to a boil then gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender (test it by inserting a skewer into the base of the pear. It should slide in easily). Make sure the pears stay submerged in the liquid during cooking by weighing it down with a heavy heatproof bowl.
  3. Remove from heat and leave pears in the poaching liquid for about 5-10 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside while you prepare the caramel (discard poaching liquid).
  4. Combine sugar and water in a large pan or skillet over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase heat to medium then cook until an amber caramel, swirling occasionally (do not stir).
  5. Add the poached pear halves in single layer, cut side down and baste the pears with the caramel. Remove from pan when pears are glazed and sticky all over and set aside to cool. Cook remaining liquid until reduced to a light syrup. Remove from heat then stir through the butter and cream and leave aside to cool completely.
Chocolate Financier Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the sides with baking paper.
  2. Melt butter in a pan over low heat. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook butter until light brown and nutty in fragrance (when the spluttering and noise dies down, it’s nearly ready so keep a watchful eye to stop it from burning). Strain brown butter into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, sift together the plain flour, cornflour, cocoa powder and salt. With your stand mixer or by hand, whisk the egg whites until it has loosened and is frothy. Whisk in the sugar until mixed then add the hazelnut meal and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  4. Gently stir through the sifted flour mix then the brown butter. Fold through the melted chocolate taking care not to over-mix. Pour batter into tin and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean but with a few crumbs stuck to it. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then turn out and leave to cool completely.
  5. Dust with sweetened cocoa powder if you wish, top with pears and drizzle caramel sauce over.
  1. Recipe adapted from a financier recipe from Okashi by Keiko Ishida
Citrus and Candy

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy January 24, 2013 at 04:32

Yum! Love the idea of a giant financier!


Amanda@ChewTown January 10, 2013 at 13:06

That really does look spectacular Karen! Yum.


PJ @ December 20, 2012 at 15:23

These look amazing! The photos are beautiful and recipe looks delicious! :)


Kankana December 20, 2012 at 09:25

The friday incident is still so fresh in my mind that at times, it takes away all the festive mood from me and I start to worry!
That being said, we have to move on right and this cake would be perfect way to deal with that! I love pears and with caramel sauce, it’s a absolute delight.


The Food Sage December 19, 2012 at 11:11

Beautiful photography. I’d go the poached pears all on their own, though. They’re one of my favourite, indulgent (especially if alcohol is involved) desserts. Thanks for sharing.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar December 18, 2012 at 12:33

This looks unreal! Awesome idea!


milkteaxx December 18, 2012 at 01:44

your poached pears look amazing! keep up the awesome work!


Rochelle Hutchinson December 17, 2012 at 21:49

I Love the deep amber colour of the pears with the sauce dripping down the side. Shows that christmas isn’t all about candy canes and eggnog. Simply beautiful x


Lisa December 17, 2012 at 15:28

Totally agree with you. The events over the weekend had me in tears more than once and have definitely inspired me to make sure my loved ones know it! And on that note, THANK YOU for being such a wonderful friend!! Such a beautiful cake too, and you know how I feel about anything with French Earl Grey tea!! xxx


sarvani @ baker in disguise December 17, 2012 at 15:05

ooo yes!! look at those poached pears.. must try doing that the next time with tea and orange rind.. that should be interesting!! and chocolate and pears.. perfect combination!!


thecitygourmand December 17, 2012 at 10:07

A gorgeous cake to welcome in the festive season. I’ve decided to hop on the online shopping bandwagon this year – I’m glad to say it was pain free!


john@heneedsfood December 17, 2012 at 09:55

I know I’ve eaten this type of cake before but I’ve never known it’s name. Financier cake. There you have it. So delicious and enhanced even more with some beautiful poached pears!


Suzanne Perazzini December 17, 2012 at 09:52

It’s a horrible tragedy and certainly puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? We have to remember to count our blessings every day. You have made this cake look very desirable.


Tina @ bitemeshowme December 17, 2012 at 09:21

We definitely take for granted what we already have infront of us, and with some events that have happened, we take the step back and assess. It’s the simple things in life that make us happy and there’s no need for anything more than that. Your flavour combinations are just out of this world Karen. How can you go wrong with the chocolate and caramel combo?


Sarah December 17, 2012 at 08:43

I really love this recipe and your photos are as heartwarming as always. A reminder that there is some good in the world.


Kim December 17, 2012 at 08:02

Wow!!!! It’s the perfect cake for a elegant Holiday dinner. I like it, it looks stunning!


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