Poached Pears with Chocolate Crème Anglaise

Merrilees Parker's tender poached pears are flavoured with cinnamon, rosemary and honey and served with a rich chocolate custard for a sensational dessert
By Merrilees Parker
Poached Pears with Chocolate Crème Anglaise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus at least 2 hrs chilling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the chocolate crème anglaise

  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 6 free-range eggs
  • 120 g dark chocolate, melted

For the pears

  • 300 ml white wine
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 firm Conference pears, or Comice pears, peeled, but stalks left on

Method

1. To make the chocolate crème anglaise: heat the milk with the vanilla pod and just under half the sugar in a medium pan.

2. Put the remaining sugar into a bowl with the eggs and whisk until light and fluffy.

3. When the milk is boiling, pour it over the egg mixture, whisking all the time.

4. Return the mixture to the pan and simmer gently for a couple of minutes, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (the temperature should be about 80C).

5. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod, but ensure you get all the delicious seeds out using the back of a knife. Reserve the vanilla pod.

6. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix well. If not using immediately then pour into a clean bowl and set over another bowl of ice to cool it down quickly. Cool for a minimum of 2 hours and then keep chilled until ready to use. It will keep for up to 2 days.

7. To make the pears: place the white wine, sugar, honey, cinnamon, rosemary sprig and vanilla pod in a large deep pan.

8. Heat gently until simmering and then add the pears. Ideally they should be covered by the wine (you may need to use a plate to keep them submerged).

9. Poach the pears over a low heat for 30-40 minutes or until translucent and soft to the point of a knife. You will probably need to turn them occasionally.

10. Remove from the liquor and keep warm.

11. Cook the liquid steadily until reduced by half and syrupy. Remove the vanilla pod and keep warm.

12. To serve: place one pear in the centre of 4 warmed serving bowls. Pour a little of the cooking liquor into the base of each bowl and finally pour over the chilled chocolate crème anglaise.

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