Chocolate-Pear Upside-Down Pudding
I got this idea from my mate, Paul Rankin, a fantastic chef and friend from my Ready Steady Cook days. It’s the ultimate cheat’s pud because it uses ready-made muffins, but is none the worse for that. Thanks Paul.
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Thickly smear the bottom of a 20-cm (8-inch) ovenproof frying pan with the butter and sprinkle over the sugar.
Peel the pears, cut them into quarters and remove the cores. Place them in a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice to stop them from going brown. Drain off any excess lemon juice, then tip them into the prepared frying pan. Place over a medium heat and cook for 7–10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to stop the pears from sticking, until the butter and sugar caramelize and turn toffee-coloured and the pears are just tender. You might need to lower the heat a little, depending on how quickly the pears are cooking.
Crumble the chocolate muffins into pieces and scatter them evenly over the pears. Cover with an ovenproof plate or the base of a flan tin, press down gently to bind everything together slightly, and leave the plate in place. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the pears are completely tender but still holding their shape.
Remove the frying pan from the oven and leave the pudding to cool for 30 minutes so that all the juices have time to be well absorbed and the caramel can set slightly.
To serve, remove the plate and loosen the edges of the pudding with a round-bladed knife. Cover the top of the pan with an inverted serving plate, take hold of both the plate and the pan, then turn them over together. Remove the frying pan, checking to see that the pudding is now on the plate, and serve cut into wedges with a spoonful of crème fraîche.
- 75 g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
- 4 ripe but firm dessert pears, such as Williams
- juice of 1 lemon
- 6 double-chocolate muffins
- crème fraîche, to serve