Pere al cioccolato

Pears with chocolate

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Twelve

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2003

  • About

These cooked pears are presented on a pool of vanilla cream, drizzled lightly with brandy or another liqueur, then with melted chocolate and sprinkled with amaretti biscuit crumbs.

Ingredients

  • 6 ripe firm pears
  • 1 litre (4 cups) water
  • 350 g (12 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves

Cream

  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) milk
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) thick (single) cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 80 g (3 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 150 g (5½ oz) quality unsweetened, dark chocolate
  • 6 small amaretti biscuits (available from Italian delicatessens), coarsely crushed
  • 6 teaspoons good-quality brandy

Method

Peel the pears carefully, leaving the stem intact. Hollow out the bottom with a melon baller or a teaspoon and remove the pips.

In a large saucepan make a syrup with the water, the 350 g (12 oz) sugar and the bay leaves and cloves. When it comes to the boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and add the pears. Cook them for 10-15 minutes, turning them over a couple of times. Remove from the heat and leave them to cool, before transferring them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

To make the cream, heat the milk and the cream with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Lightly whip the eggs in a bowl with the flour and the 80 g (3 oz) of sugar. Just before the milk mixture comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and add a ladleful to the egg mixture, whisking to avoid cooking the eggs. Add all the egg mixture back to the milk pan and return it to a very low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl, whisking to ensure that it remains smooth. Remove the vanilla pod and save it for your vanilla sugar*.

Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over another saucepan of simmering water, stirring to ensure a smooth mixture.

Spoon the cooled cream onto individual serving plates and sprinkle with the amaretti crumbs. Put a pear onto the custard and spoon a teaspoon of brandy over each pear. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the pears and serve immediately.

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