Adam Gray adds a little drama to his dessert of poached pears, with a decadent poaching syrup of dessert wine, orange juice, star anise and vanilla, and a final sugar coating which is caramelised with a blow torch. Served with a rich chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream, this would make a stunning Autumnal dish.
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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
4 conference pears
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
600ml of dessert wine
250g of caster sugar
2 star anise
1 vanilla pod
200ml of orange juice
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
50g of caster sugar
25g of cocoa powder
375ml of water
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
50g of dark chocolate
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
caster sugar for dusting
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
1 tub of vanilla ice cream
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