A labour of love, so take your time …
MAKE THE GENOISE. Break the chocolate into pieces and dice the butter. Melt them in a microwave or double boiler. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then let it cool.
BEAT THE EGG WHITES TO PEAKS USING AN ELECTRIC BEATER, THEN GENTLY FOLD THEM INTO THE CHOCOLATE MIXTURE, LIFTING AND TURNING THE BATTER WITH A SPATULA TO KEEP AS MUCH AIR IN THE MIXTURE AS POSSIBLE.
POUR THE BATTER INTO THE TIN AND
POACH THE PEARS. Peel the pears and put them in a saucepan with the split vanilla bean, cover with water and bring to the boil until the pears are very tender. Allow about 20 minutes. Let them cool in the poaching liquid before slicing them thinly.
MAKE THE MASCARPONE CREAM. Heat a saucepan of water. Combine the egg yolks, sugar and half the marsala in a mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl over the saucepan of water and whisk for 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of a sabayon.
BEAT THE MASCARPONE TO SOFTEN IT, THEN INCORPORATE THE SABAYON IN SEVERAL STAGES UNTIL YOU HAVE A SMOOTH, LIGHT CREAM. Place this cream in the fridge and let it cool.
ASSEMBLE THE GENOISE. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread a little mascarpone cream in the base of a dish, then cover with the pears and a little grated chocolate. Place one of the cake halves on top and sprinkle with a little coffee and marsala. Top with some mascarpone cream, then pears and chocolate. Cover with the second half of genoise. Sprinkle with the rest of the coffee and marsala, then spread the rest of the mascarpone cream on top.
LET THE CAKE REST FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS IN THE FRIDGE (EVEN OVERNIGHT IF POSSIBLE)
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