Chocolate genoise with dark chocolate ganache, caramelised pear and cocoa syrup

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Russell Brown's indulgent chocolate dessert recipe includes three separate chocolate elements, using both the rich taste of cocoa and melted chocolate for the most intense flavour. The chocolate genoise sponge is airy and light; the perfect counter to the incredibly rich, silky smooth chocolate ganache, and the sticky cocoa syrup, while caramelised pears add a touch of sweetness for balance.

First published in 2016




Chocolate genoise sponge

Dark chocolate ganache

Cocoa syrup

  • 150g of mineral water
  • 25g of cocoa powder
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod

Caramelised pears


  • Thermometer


Start with the dark chocolate ganache as this will need time to set. Place the cream, butter and honey in a pan over a medium heat, stir together and heat to 75°C
Gently whisk in the melted chocolate until emulsified then remove from the heat. Continue to whisk gently until the mixture has cooled to about 35°C. Transfer to a bowl or container, cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours
Meanwhile, make the genoise. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water) and add the butter and bitter chocolate to the bowl. Allow to gently melt together, stirring occasionally
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Line a 20x30cm baking tin with baking or silicone paper
Using a stand mixer or electric whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar and golden syrup to create thick sabayon – this will take about 12 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and flour, then sift again to aerate
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 35g of golden syrup
  • 60g of cocoa powder
  • 75g of plain flour
Fold the sifted cocoa flour gently through the sabayon. When half-mixed, add the melted butter and chocolate and continue folding gently until just combined
Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 10–12 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Invert the cake on to a cooling rack and carefully remove the lining paper. Cover the warm cake with a clean cloth or tea towel and leave to cool
To make the syrup, combine the water, cocoa and sugar in a small pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pan then place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer until it becomes syrupy. Strain through a fine sieve and allow to cool
  • 150g of mineral water
  • 25g of cocoa powder
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
For the caramelised pears, melt the butter in a frying pan over a high heat and add the pear pieces. Sprinkle over the sugar and toss to coat the pears evenly in the butter and sugar. Cook until the pears are well caramelised and golden
Stir in the cider then continue to cook until the liquid has reduced to a sticky caramel (the pan should be quite dry). Transfer the pear pieces to a plate and allow to cool slightly before serving
  • 50ml of cider, or apple juice
Remove the ganache from the fridge and allow to soften slightly. Trim the edges of the sponge and slice a thin layer away from the top and bottom to reveal the airy sponge. Cut into 24 equal pieces
Drizzle a little syrup in a line across each serving plate and top with 3 sponge pieces. Add 2 quenelles of the ganache and 4 pieces of pear to each, then finish with an extra drizzle of the syrup over the sponges to serve
First published in 2016

Russell Brown has achieved Michelin stardom on his own terms, impressing inspectors with his honest, unfussy creations and sound approach to restaurant management.

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