To make the pastry, first sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt and icing sugar together. Place in a food processor with the butter, and using the metal blade, mix until fine crumbs form. Add the egg yolk and pulse gently until you have a lump of pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour or so.
When the pastry is firm,
To make the filling, first prepare a custard: beat the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. In a separate pan, bring the milk with the vanilla pod to the boil, then whisk the boiling milk into the egg mixture with a balloon whisk. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. If the mixture is not hot enough to thicken, return it briefly to a low heat, but be very careful or you’ll end up with scrambled egg! When you have a light custard (it doesn’t need to be too thick), pour it little by little on to the chocolate to make the ganache, as described.
Peel the pears, cut them in half and scoop out the core and stem. Arrange the pear halves on the cooked pastry base.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl (you will have 2 or 3 depending on when you made the pastry – either is fine) until forming soft peaks. Beat
Decorate with cape gooseberries and dust with icing sugar. Serve hot or cold, with whipping cream, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice-cream.
© 2003 Chantal Coady. All rights reserved.