- 8 pears
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- 1 lemon, zest removed in strips
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- 1 orange, zest removed in strips
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- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 600ml white wine
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
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For the chocolate sauce
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact, then take the core out from the bottom of each by using a small sharp knife or a melon baller. Flatten the bottom by slicing off a little bit so that it will sit upright when served. Put the pears into a saucepan with the zests, vanilla pod, sugar, cinnamon, white wine and 600ml water, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and poach for about 20-25 mins until they are cooked all the way through, but are not so soft that they will fall apart. Leave to cool in the liquid. Can be made and chilled a day ahead.
When cool, take the pears out, strain out the cinnamon, zest and vanilla pod (keep the pod, allow it to dry, then pop it into a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar), then pour the syrup back in the pan. Boil until reduced by half to a thin syrup.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Warm the cream, milk and butter in a heavy based pan. Stir this into the melted chocolate, set aside and keep warm. Can be made and chilled a day ahead. If the sauce cools and thickens too much, warm it again gently over a pan of simmering water or for 30 secs in a microwave. Serve the pears with plenty of syrup, chocolate sauce and good-quality vanilla ice cream.