Saturday, January 14, 2012

good lookin' cookin' chookin'

do you ever feel like waltzing around the kitchen like a voluptuous, gaudy goddess, whipping cream with a hand whisk, stirring endless amounts of pots and chopping vegetables in the finest of fine julienne batons?

no...well that's disappointing, because I DO!

and when i get this irrepressible desire, nigella is my go-to-girl for all things kitsch-en!

mostly i am satisfied by a quick jump on iview to watch her latest show, but when simply watching gelly do all the work/have all the fun isn't enough to suppress my cooking-cravings, i do meander into the kitchen and make something delish...usually this ah-mazing pud.

such a crowd pleaser at my house, and so effortlessly easy! i can even manage a dairy-gluten free version without too much sorcery!

(from Nigella Express)

Serves: 6-8

This is a cross between Pears Belle Helene and Eve's Pudding, but the only important thing to remember is that this is easy, quick, very comforting and seems to please absolutely everyone. It's not hard to ensure you always have what you need in the house to make this. And, for hot days when baked sponge and sauce seems inappropriate, then bear in mind that canned (or bottled) pears and chocolate sauce - with or without vanilla ice cream - make a lovely pudding on their own.

As with any baking, you really do want to have all ingredients at room temperature before you start.


2 x 415g cans pear halves in juice

125g plain flour

(OR GF flour if you're that way inclined)

25g cocoa powder

125g caster sugar

150g soft butter, plus extra for greasing

(half a cup of olive oil for those vegan bébés out there!)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 22cm square ovenproof dish with butter.

2. Drain the pears and arrange them on the base of the dish. (i always put a little of the juice into the dish too, to add to the gooey-ness!)

3. Put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

4. Spread the brown batter over the pears, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. (i only ever bake this béb for 20 mins so that it has a soft, oozy centre)

5. Let stand out of the oven for 5 or 10 minutes and then cut into slabs.

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