Poached Pears in Shortbread with Lime Caramel Sauce

Tender pears, crumbly shortbread and a sweet caramel sauce combine to tempting effect in Jacqueline Crawford's dessert recipe
Poached Pears in Shortbread with Lime Caramel Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 2 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium


For the shortbread rounds:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 85 g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for sprinkling
  • pinch of salt
  • 175 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 250 g plain flour

For the poached pears:

  • 2 pears, William
  • 600 ml water
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • juice of 1 small lemons
  • 1 vanilla pod, or few drops of vanilla extract

For the lime caramel sauce:

  • 75 ml water
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • juice of 1 limes


1. First make the shortbread rounds. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks, whipping cream, icing sugar and salt with a wooden spoon. Mix in the softened butter until well blended.

2. Slowly sift in the flour, and mix with your fingertips until you get a sandy dough. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness and cut out 12 rounds using a 5cm biscuit cutter. Place the shortbread rounds on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, poach the pears. Peel the pears, core and halve lengthways. In a large saucepan bring the water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla to the boil. Add in the pear halves, topping the halved pears with a round of greaseproof paper to prevent discolouration. Simmer the pears for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from direct heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup. Drain the pears and finely slice.

5. To make the lime caramel sauce, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Continue to boil without stirring until the syrup turns a dark caramel colour. At this point stir in 150ml double cream with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat, add the remaining cream and stir until you get a smooth texture. Add the butter and lime juice and stir until well-blended.

6. To serve place one shortbread round on a serving plate and top with a few pear slices. Top the pears with a second shortbread round. Sprinkle over a little sifted icing sugar on top. Pour the warm caramel sauce around the shortbread.

7. Repeat the process making 6 servings in all. Serve.

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