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Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake

This is a cross between pears Belle Helene and Eve's pudding, but that's an irrelevance, really. The only important thing to remember is that this is easy, quick and very comforting — and it seems to please absolutely everyone.

For hot days when baked cake and sauce seems inappropriate, bear in mind that canned (or jarred) pears and chocolate sauce — with or without vanilla ice cream — make a lovely dessert on their own.

You can make the chocolate sauce or buy one, obviously. I have a pantry standby I make by heating together ¾ cup evaporated milk, ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder, ½ cup dark corn syrup and 3 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate.

The cake itself does make a little bit of its own sauce, so if you don't want to make some separately, just serve with chocolate ice cream.

As with most baking, you want all ingredients at room temperature before you start.

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