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Paris, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona are among the top-visited destinations in Europe. Beyond the Old World, New York City, Toronto and Whistler await shopping, dining and skiing enthusiasts, as well as businessmen and students. Quality accommodation is always in demand, and nowadays travellers have the freedom to choose not only hotels, but also apartment rentals.
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Blog

Unexpectedly Delicious: Chocolate Cake with Salt and Olive Oil Recipe

Katya R
Posted December 22, 2015

Giuseppe Benesta, our favourite Italian chef and the owner of Acqua e Sale in Barcelona, is a busy man intent on writing the most comprehensive cook book dedicated to the Mediterranean cuisine, of which he is the master (at least on this side of the Pyrenees). The writing generally occurs alongside parenting three adorably energetic daughters and running a restaurant, so the process is taking a while even by the Italian standards. Close friends of the chef have stopped holding their breaths for the book to ever see the light of day, but the more cunning of the sort go after Giuseppe's secret recipes with the combination of coaxing and trickery. We have slowly but surely been collecting recipes from Giuseppe's secret stash, eventually hoping to be able to cook a whole meal out of them. For now though, with Christmas festivities coming up, Giuseppe has kindly agreed to demonstrate the process of making of one of his most popular desserts - Chocolate Pear Cake with Salt and Olive Oil!



Ingredients:

500 g of coarse whole wheat flour
250 g of white sugar
15 g of cane sugar
250 g butter for the cake base and 20 g for the filling
2 eggs
Amaretto di Saronno (aromatic Italian liquor)
300 g of 70% cocoa dark chocolate
70 ml of milk
3 Conference pears
150 g of pecans
1 orange
1 lemon



The Process:

Combine the flour with the white sugar, add eggs, softened butter and liquor. Make orange zest by grating the peel and add it to the mix.







Blend until smooth.





Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for an hour.





Put some flour on the working surface and roll out the dough aiming for 2-3 mm thickness.







Put the dough into a baking dish, covering its insides entirely.





To avoid the cake base deforming during baking, prick all of its surface with a fork.



Into the oven it goes! (For 30 minutes.)



While the cake base is in the oven, start making the filling. Break the chocolate into pieces, heat up the milk until it boils and add the chocolate pieces, stirring till smooth. Add a bit of orange zest to the mix too. The chocolate part of the cake filling is ready.



Put some butter (20 g) and the cane sugar (15 g) on a cold frying pan, pour in the Amaretto liquor (40 g) and arrange cut pears over the ingredients. Cooking on high heat, stir the contents of the pan for 5-6 minutes, moving the pan itself back and forth. If you are using a gas oven, the back and forth motion will ignite the liquor - don't be scared, just don't lean too low over the pan. If the oven is electric, you will need to set fire to the liquor yourself. If you do not want to risk expensive kitchen furniture for some pears flambe, stir the contents without moving the pan.

Take the cake base out of the oven, put it onto your favourite plate and let it cool.





Arrange the pears over the cake base.





Grind the pecans and put them on top.



Pour the chocolate filling over the cake, spreading it evenly and covering pears and pecans completely. Let the cake cool once again.





Now it is time to turn the cake into an Italian offering. Drop several sea salt crystals on the cake, sprinkle it with extra virgin olive oil, add lemon zest and garnish with rosemary.













Buon appetito and merry Christmas!


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