Adam Gray's recipe takes the well known combination of pear and chocolate, but shows it's still capable of thrilling guests. Here a syrup of dessert wine, orange juice and star anise, plus a final flourish of the blowtorch, lifts the gracefully tapered Conference pears above the everyday. This is a marvellous dessert for dinner parties as it can be prepared well in advance. Buy in a good quality ice cream or go the extra distance and make your own if preferred

To start the poached pears, peel and core the pears, rubbing the flesh with a little of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning
Combine the sweet wine, orange and lemon juices, caster sugar, star anise and vanilla in a large, heavy-based saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring gently for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves
Add the pears to the saucepan and cover with a disc of crumbled greaseproof paper, then the lid. Bring to the boil and simmer for no more than 5 minutes
Remove the pan from the heat and leave the pears in the liquid until they are just warm
To make the chocolate sauce, combine the sugar, cocoa powder and water in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking until smooth
Simmer gently for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, then remove from the heat
Chop the chocolate and add each piece one at a time to the sauce, stirring continuously until all the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth
Maintaining the temperature of chocolate
The working temperature for dark chocolate is 32°C, so try to maintain this
Remove the poached pears from the cooking liquor and place on kitchen paper or a clean cloth to drain. Trim the base of each pear a little so they are able to sit upright
Roll the pear lightly in caster sugar until completely covered then caramelize the sugar with a blowtorch
To serve, sit a poached pear upright in each serving dish. Place a ball or scoop of ice cream next to it and pour the hot chocolate sauce around. Serve with more hot chocolate sauce on the side
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Wine Matching

Find out why we suggest matching this Poached pears recipe with a sweet white wine


Poached pears

Chocolate sauce

To serve


  1. Blow torch

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Spiced poached pears are deliciously joined by rich chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream in Adam Grey's superb dessert recipe.

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