Chocolate Crémeux with Pan-Seared Pears | Wine Enthusiast
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Chocolate Crémeux with Pan-Seared Pears

Courtesy Kieu-Linh Nguyen, pastry chef, Kingbird, Washington, DC

Kingbird, inside the recently renovated Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC, serves luxurious American cuisine with a French bent. Accordingly, this crémeux, essentially a decadent chocolate pudding, is gilded with winter flavors of pear and hazelnut.


3 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups half-and-half
½ cup whipping cream
1½ tablespoons Frangelico
Pan-Seared Pears
¹/₃ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


Combine chocolates in large bowl. In separate large, heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.

In small pot, bring half-and-half to boil. Gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture, then transfer back to pot. Whisking constantly, heat mixture until it registers 180˚F on candy thermometer. Pour over chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

Divide among 6 ramekins or small bowls. Let cool to room temperature, then gently press plastic wrap against surface. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days.

Just before serving, whip cream to stiff peaks, and fold in Frangelico. Spoon pears over crémeux. Top with Frangelico cream and hazelnuts. Serves 6.

Pan-Seared Pears Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Directions for Pan-Seared Pears

Melt butter in sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add sugar and vanilla, and cook until sugar dissolves. Add pears, and cook over medium-high heat until tender and liquid has reduced to glaze.

Pair It

Disznókő 2007 Aszú 5 Puttonyos (Tokaji); “This rich and slightly nutty dessert is balanced by [the wine’s] bright acidity and complexity,” says Nial Rhys Harris García, one of the Watergate Hotel’s three sommeliers. “It has notes of vanilla custard that blend with the chocolate crémeux, while hints of citrus and honey highlight the pears.”