For the pudding:
- 175g butter, softened
- 175g sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
For the pears:
- 6 baby pears
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 pint cold water
For the chocolate sauce:
- 225ml pouring cream
- 110g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 measure of Baileys, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat for 4-5 minutes.
- When this mixture is creamy and fluffy, add in the eggs, the flour and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly until completely combined. It is important to scrape down the bowl at this stage to ensure that all of the butter has been incorporated into the pudding mixture. If you find the mixture is a little tight, you can add a dessertspoon of milk to loosen it up.
- Divide the mixture between 6 well-greased individual pudding basins, dariole mould or ramekins.
- Place the puddings onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Lightly press the puddings into shape if they have risen excessively and remove from the tin immediately.
- Peel the pears carefully, leaving the stalk intact. Place the pears in a medium-sized saucepan with the caster sugar. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until just tender. Allow to cool.
- To make the sauce, put the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Pour the boiled cream onto the chopped chocolate and mix well. Whisk in the Baileys if desired.
- To serve, trim off the top of the chocolate puddings if necessary to allow the poached pears to sit neatly on top. Smother with oodles of the dark chocolate sauce.
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If desired, you could spoon a little of the cooking juice from the pears onto the chocolate pudding for added flavour.