Serves 8 – 10
4 large firm pears, like Barlett, peeled, halved, cored and cut across into ¼ inch slices
2 sticks unsalted margarine, softened
2-½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1-½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1-teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup pareve whipping cream
2 tablespoons brandy (or other liqueur, optional)
Preheat the oven to 400. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
Spread the sliced pears on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pears to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.
Cream together the margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until very light. Batter may appear curdled at this point. Mix in the vanilla and pear puree. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched in the center, about 1 hour. Place on a rack to cool. Turn the cake out of the pan re-invert onto a cake plate.
Put the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Whisk in the pareve cream and brandy. Slice the cake and serve with warm chocolate sauce drizzled on top. Sauce can be made ahead of time and re-warmed before using.