Chocolate and pears–totally awesome combination.

1 c milk or cream or half-and-half
6 T cocoa powder
1/3 c sugar
2 T butter, plus extra for baking pan
2 T flour
4 eggs, separated; egg yolks lightly beaten
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 – 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced

1. Combine milk, cocoa and sugar in a saucepan. Heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the cocoa is well incorporated. Don’t let it go past a gentle simmer.

2. Melt butter in a skillet. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two until the flour loses its raw taste.

3. Add the chocolate mixture all at once, stirring. Continue stirring until the flour is incorporated and the mixture thickens.

3. Put a small amount of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks and stir to combine. This is called tempering and will prevent the eggs from scrambling when they are added to the hot liquid. Cook at a low heat for a few minutes. Add the vanilla. Remove from heat, cover and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.

5. Grease a baking pan or pie plate. Layer the sliced pears on the bottom. Spread chocolate mixture over. Bake for 30 minutes or until set.