Pretzel-Crusted Flourless Chocolate Cake with Sauteed Spiced Pears and Salted Caramel Sauce

Total Time:
15 hr 55 min
30 min
14 hr 30 min
55 min

8 to 12 servings

  • Pretzel Crust:
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 pieces dark chocolate-covered caramel candy, cut into quarters
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 pound semisweet coverture chocolate pistoles
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Spice Blend:
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon star anise powder
  • Sauteed Pears:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large pears, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon French brandy
  • Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • Sweetened whipped cream, flavored with a little brandy, for serving
  • For the pretzel crust: In a food processor, pulse the pretzels, sugar and butter together until nearly as fine as graham cracker crumbs.

  • Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment and press the pretzel crumbs into the base.

  • Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

  • Once cooled, scatter the caramel pieces over the top and set aside

  • For the flourless chocolate cake: Adjust the oven to 425 degrees F.

  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over medium heat.

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until they reach medium peaks.

  • Add the sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks and whip for two minutes.

  • Fold in the chocolate mixture in three stages, being careful not to deflate the batter.

  • Pour the batter into the pretzel crust, and bake for 15 minutes. When done, the center should feel slightly bouncy, but an inserted cake tester should come out like a moist brownie batter.

  • Allow the cake to cool overnight before unmolding.

  • For the spice blend: In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, ginger and star anise until well blended. Set aside.

  • For the sauteed pears: In a saute pan over medium heat, saute the pears until slightly translucent.

  • Add the sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of the spice blend, and cook until the pears are tender and their juices slightly thickened. Allow to cool before use.

  • For the salted caramel sauce: In a large pot, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Cook until the mixture acquires a nice amber color, indicating it has reached the caramel stage (325 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat.

  • Gently heat the cream in the microwave, then add it slowly to the caramel (be very carefulthe mixture will bubble up!).

  • Once all cream is added, stir in the butter. Taste and season with more salt if necessary. Let cool.

  • To finish: Top the cake with sauteed pears and pour caramel over. Chill until the caramel sets.

  • Serve with brandy-flavored sweetened whipped cream.

Contestant/Competition Recipe: This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Holiday Baking Championship