First things first, I'd like to preface this post with an apology to all you good people that have given up chocolate for lent. You are better souls than I and, while I admire your audacity, would remind you that the 40 days of lent do not include Sundays, so you have just over an hour should you wish to take advantage of Lent's very own cheat day.
A very wise friend once advised me that Lent should be less about giving things up, and more about new resolves and hobbies that will add more colour and perspective to our lives. While it's certainly admirable to stay off the sweet stuff for 40 days, resolutions in this vein are ultimately just helping ourselves.
This year, I am resolved to slow down a little more often, and appreciate how lucky I am to have the friends, family and life that I do. I'm also trying my best to face up to a few over-indulged childhood fears which will be put to the test this year - blood tests and injections being the first on the list, as I'm due to finally see the back of my pesky tonsils at long last.
This cake is the most chocolatey, gooey and indulgent delight that you ever did see. And it's gluten free, too. If you've given up chocolate - good on you! (But maybe pop this on your 'to eat' list for Easter weekend.)
3 ripe pears
150g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
40g brown sugar
70g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160C, and line a 7 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper. Peel and core the pears, then slice them in half. Arrange in the tin, with the flat side down and the tips of the pears meeting in the middle.
In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter. As soon as they are melted, remove from the heat then set aside to cool. Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks with the sugar until pale, fluffy and doubled in volume. Add the cocoa powder and salt, mix, and set aside. Separately, beat the egg whites into soft peaks.
Gently fold the two chocolate mixtures (melted and yolk) together, then fold in the whites. Continue until all of the whites are combined and there are no streaks remaining. Spoon over the pears, and bake for 25-35 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.