Pears and chocolate cake

october 30th 2014

Ever since Russia boycotted the EU, pears, even organic, are always on discount so I had to take advantage of this. And what is better than chocolate and pears?
I am just not sure the title is really appropriate. Can I still call “cake” a dessert made without sugar, no flour, no gluten, no yeast, no butter, no dairy, no oil, no eggs? Or should I rather call it “baked pears with chocolate”? 🙂 I do not know, you tell me.
In any case, it’s finally about the taste and I can assure you that this “cake” has nothing less than a traditional cake. Well, perhaps the difference is in the texture. In fact, not having eggs it tends to flake and it doesn’t stay very compact. To lay it on the plate it definitely takes some forethought, I admit.

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Yesterday my mates of “herstel en balans” served as guinea pig. They all gave compliments to the cake! The only criticism I had was about the fact that it lacks a little “bite”, something crunchy or consistent. I went vegan, but eventually it is possible to replace the almond milk with two eggs, to make it more compact. The other possibility would be to cook it not in the form of a cake but in separate cups to offer to your guests. Or turning it into the filling for a classic “crostata” pie. As always, the possibilities are endless.

In order to make this cake even more healthy than it already is I suggest you to avoid depriving the pears and apple of their peel. Not so much for the vitamins that are in direct contact with it, and that in any case would be destroyed during the cooking process, but rather for the fibers that the peel contains and that help reducing the glycemic index (they slow down the absorption of the fruit sugars). I recommend using organic pears to reduce also the amount of pesticides we eat but if you do not make a difference, go ahead and use non-organic pears. It is surely better to bake this cake with non-organic pears than a cake made with refined flour and sugar, this is obvious. And this issue about organic or non-organic – contrary to what I always thought – is even more true if we eat fresh fruit. I read it in a book about the Kousmine diet: it is better to eat a non-organic apple with the skin than a peeled organic one. You see, everything is always relative, but I think that gaining awareness is a big step towards better choices for ourselves and for the world.
Last but not least, when we talk about chocolate we immediately think of something very tasty but also very harmful to our health. What I recently learned is that chocolate does not hurt us, but the large amount of sugar and cocoa butter that is used to produce it (the one we normally buy at the supermarket is only 30% chocolate). So I buy chocolate Vivani 92% and then I combine it with fresh or dried fruit until it achieves the right balance. I believe that in this sense the experiment surely did not fail.

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Ingredients:
3 pears (about 650g)
1/2 apple or 1 small apple (about 150g)
75g raisins
100g dried apricots
170g (approximately) hazelnuts
150ml of almond milk
35g dark chocolate 92% (5 squares of Vivani chocolate)
1 tablespoon raw chocolate powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
grated rind of 1 orange

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preparation:
.toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 175 degrees
.soak the raisins in water
.wash pears and apples and cut them into thin strips (not big pieces or cubes)
.wait until they cool down and then process them until very fine (I used a Thermomix, a magimix would also be fine)
.set aside some of the hazelnut flower, ca. 20g
.add 2 squares (14g) of dark chocolate to the hazelnuts and process
.add the dried apricots and process and then the almond milk until you get a sort of fairly thick cream
.pour the cream into a bowl and add the drained raisins, the rest of the dark chocolate, chopped fairly fine with a knife, the raw chocolate powder (I make it myself by pulverizing cocoa beans), vanilla essence and1 orange zest
.mix and incorporate the fresh fruit
.grease the baking sheet with a little olive oil and pour the mixture
.sprinkle the hazelnut flower set aside previously on the top
.bake in the oven at 175 degrees for 55 minutes (if you use eggs instead of almond milk, you can reduce the cooking time to 35-40 minutes)

I would like to underline that even though this cake is made almost exclusively of fruit, fresh and dried, it is still a dessert. Sugar is sugar even in its most natural form, so do not abuse it. In addition, nuts have good fats but they contain lots of calories and therefore we can not eat them at will. This is just to clarify. Said that, I firmly believe that if people would consume this type of sweets daily – and not the industrially produced ones – the incidence of chronic diseases will decrease significantly. I am sure that Berrino would agree with me :-).

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Time 1 hour ca.

Difficulty very low

Prevention and DIANA diet  If you want to know more about the diet recommended by Cascina Rosa (National Cancer Institute of Milan) for women who have had breast cancer, click here (only italian). This diet is anyway suitable for all the people who want to adopt a more healthy lifestyle that will help prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases.

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