Pears and apples belong to the rose family and have their origins in the Caucasus. Both were introduced into Europe and northern India by the Aryan tribes from the original region. The wild pear has now been developed into nearly 1,000 varieties after interbreeding with native wild pears of Europe and Asia. Talk about going pear shaped! They generally fall into two categories one being the crisp Asian Nashi salad type pear which is shaped like an apple and the Chinese white pear which has a typical pear shape. There are many different cultivars and hybrids which then fall into two basic groups being the ‘red and brown skinned’ variety and the ‘green/yellow skinned’ variety. To simplify things in this recipe I will use the autumn/winter eating variety Beurré Bosc pear known for its aromatic flavour. It is less grainy than other varieties and has a lovely tapered neck and brown skin. These pears are available locally in the greengrocers or if you are lucky like me are given some as a gift from our lovely neighbours. Poach them whole in their skin then cover them in a delicious rich chocolate robe. A sweet white wine such as Botrytis Semillon or Riesling or Moscato will go superbly with these luscious pears. Enjoy! Sylvia xx
INGREDIENTS Serves 4-6
750ml to 1 litre white wine (Riesling or sweeter-style white wine)
400g-500g granulated sugar
2 cloves, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 1 slice lemon peel, 1 slice orange peel
4-6 Beurré Bosc pears or similar, washed, left whole and do not peel
250ml pure cream (35% milk fat)
25g unsalted butter cut into small dice
60g soft brown sugar
100g rich dark chocolate (70% cocoa content) chopped into small pieces
To serve: Freshly shelled and lightly roasted walnuts, chopped for garnish (optional) and/or Vanilla ice cream or crème Chantilly (sweet vanilla whipped cream) (optional)
- Place the white wine, water, sugar, spices and peel into a large saucepan or stockpot. Bring to the boil stirring from time to time until the sugar has dissolved.
- Immerse the washed unpeeled pears into the syrup (syrup must just cover pears). Simmer gently for about 25-35 minutes or until the pears are tender to the touch. Take off the heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup. If possible, refrigerate to chill before serving.
- Place the cream, butter and sugar into a saucepan on low heat. Bring to the simmer stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces stirring or whisking until the sauce is nice and smooth.
- Remove the pears from the syrup before serving. Place each pear into shallow serving bowls and gently drape the chocolate sauce evenly over each pear. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Serve without delay!