Pear beignets with pear crème anglaise

Impress your dinner party guests with Maria Elias elegant pear fritters and creamy custard, dusted in rosemary sugar
By Maria Elia
Pear beignets with pear crème anglaise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 10 minutes resting time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the poached pears

  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, peel and juice
  • 4 medium pears

For the beignets

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 250 ml ale, such as Tomos Watkins Cwrw Haf Ale
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • sprig of rosemary, to serve

For the crème anglaise

  • 120 ml milk
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 g caster sugar

For the rosemary sugar

  • 2 sprig of rosemary, dried, leave stripped from stalks
  • 75 g caster sugar

Tips and Suggestions

A cartouche is a circle of baking paper, cut to fit snugly over the top of the contents of a saucepan. It reduces evaporation.

Method

1. For the rosemary sugar: pulse the rosemary and sugar in a blender until finely ground, then transfer to an airtight container until required.

2. For the poached pears: put the sugar, 150ml water, bay leaf, vanilla seeds and pod and the lemon rind and juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil over a low heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Peel and core the pears and cut each one into 4 vertical slices. Add the pear slices to the simmering syrup, place a cartouche (see Cooks tip, below) on top and poach for about 7 minutes or until tender. Cool the pears in the syrup, then lift them from the liquid onto a rack or clean cloth and set aside. Sieve and reserve the poaching syrup.

4. For the beignets: in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, egg and a pinch of salt. Whisk together and gradually add the beer, whisking until the batter is smooth. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, while you prepare the pear crème anglaise.

5. For the pear crème anglaise: combine the milk and cream with 50ml of the poaching syrup in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar until pale. Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mix and then gradually pour the egg mix back into the hot milk.

7. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the custard thickens. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle. Pass the thickened custard through a fine sieve.

8. In a deep fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 175C. Working in batches, dip a few slices of poached pear into the batter and carefully drop them into the oil. Fry for about 4 minutes or until golden on both sides.

9. Drain beignets on absorbent paper.

10. To serve, put a little crème anglaise into each serving plate, top with pear beignets, dust with rosemary sugar and decorate with a fresh rosemary sprig.

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