Sunday, 3 May 2015

Pears poached in vanilla syrup with Florentines, whipped cream and chocolate.

'Give us the luxuries of life, and we will dispense with its necessities'. John Mötley, US Historian (1814-1829).
Ok - so I went a bit Jackson Pollack with my melted chocolate!  This is adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe.  I found a few problems with it that are easily addressed.  Firstly, you need to simmer peeled and cored pears in a water, sugar, syrup with a vanilla pod and leave them to stand for at least an hour until the pears are "butter soft".  It took ages peeling eight pears and I was up early on a Sunday morning which seemed a bit of a faff.  Frank pointed out that you could probably just about get away with using tinned pears if you soaked a vanilla pod with them overnight. Pears must be served chilled so this needs to be done well in advance of serving.   It's easy enough to whip up the cream, adding vanilla essence and this should be done no longer than half an hour before eating.  The photo doesn't show off that there are crushed Florentine biscuits in the cream.  These were great as it made the cream chewy with a nutty flavour and contrasted with the softness of the pears and cream.  You could also use smashed up brandy snaps.  I drizzled the melted chocolate on just before serving, but the cold pears/ cream set it almost immediately.  The whole dish is very rich and I'd use less cream next time.

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