- 8 pears
Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…
- 1 lemon, zest removed in strips
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 1 orange, zest removed in strips
One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 600ml white wine
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…
For the chocolate sauce
- 300g plain chocolate, chopped
Chocolate as we know it in pressed…
- 300ml double cream
- 150ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 25g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
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.