Pear, chocolate and chocolate-ganache loaf with pecanand-rosemary brittle Serves 4
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚f/gas mark 4, grease a loaf tin and line the base with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, olive oil, egg and vanilla-bean paste in a stand mixer until light and aerated. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and cocoa powder together, then add it in batches to the bowl of the stand mixer, alternating with the buttermilk, until both are all incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin and arrange the pears on top, before adding the remaining mixture and baking for about 40 minutes.
To make the brittle, prepare an oven tray with a sheet of baking parchment, then scatter pecans and rosemary all over it and toast them in the oven for five minutes to bring out the flavour. Remove the tray from the oven and scatter them with salt flakes and set aside, keeping the baking parchment in place beneath the pecans. Melt the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with the splash of water, without stirring it, until you see the sugar turn an even mahogany colour. If you have a sugar thermometer, it should read 150˚C/300˚F, which is the hard-crack stage. Pour it all over the pecans (be very careful, as boiling sugar really burns) and leave to cool. Once hardened, peel away the baking parchment and break the brittle into shards with your hands or a sharp knife.
To make the ganache, break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl, then heat the cream and sugar over a low heat and, just before it boils, pour the mixture over the chocolate pieces. Leave it for a minute or two, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted into a deliciously smooth, pourable ganache.
Arrange the loaf on a serving plate, pour the ganache over the top and, before it sets, drop brittle shards over it and serve in slices, accompanied by a dollop of whipped cream.