Pear and chocolate pudding

Makes 4
125g softened butter,  plus extra for greasing
125g golden caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
100g self-raising flour
2 tbsp. cocoa
2 ripe pears

For the chocolate sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa
4 tsp. cornflour
400ml milk
50g plain chocolate

Grease and line the base of 4 x 200ml pudding basins. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and sift together the flour and cocoa. Add the eggs, a little at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well between each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, mix in a little of the cocoa and flour. Fold in the remaining flour and cocoa. 
Peel, core and cut the pears into chunks. Gently fold the pear chunks through the sponge mixture and then divide between the prepared pudding basins. Cover each pudding with a square of baking parchment then a square of foil, and tie firmly in place with string. Place the puddings in the top of a steamer or in a large saucepan. Pour boiling water into the base of the steamer or the pan so it comes halfway up the sides of the basins. Cover and steam for 1 hour or until firm to the touch. Remove from the pan and allow to stand while making the sauce.
Combine the sugar, cocoa and cornflour together, and then add 2 tbsp. of the milk and mix to a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk until almost boiling. Pour some of the milk on to the cocoa mixture, stirring well, then return to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has boiled and thickened. Remove from the heat, coarsely chop the plain chocolate then stir into the sauce to melt before serving.

Other pear recipes from the Nov/Dec 2013 issue include:

• Pears roasted in cider
• Pear, apple and blackberry compote
• Pear in the hole
• Pear and ginger loaf
• Baked pear dumplings

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