This is going to be another quick post as the deadline for this month’s The Spice Trail is nearly up and I wanted to submit this delicious recipe for Poached Pears. My Mum made this dessert for our Christmas lunch and it was so light and tasty that I know I will make it again and again. What I love about this recipe is that everything can be made the day before so that all you have to do ‘on the day’ is plate it up. Perfect if you are entertaining. The white chocolate cream and brandy snap tuiles just finish it off nicely.
Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and place them in a pan together with the red wine, caster sugar and cinnamon stick.
Slice the vanilla pod into three long pieces and add to the pan.
Peel the pears, trying to keep as much of the shape as possible and leave the stalk intact.
Lower the pears into the red wine mixture.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and poach the pears, covered for 20 - 30 minutes. The pears are ready when they are tender all the way through.
Remove the pears from the pan and continue to gently boil the red wine syrup until the mixture has reduced by half and has turned syrupy.
The pears may be stored for up to two days if kept in the syrup in the refrigerator.
To make the Brandy Snap Tuiles
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Cool slightly.
Gradually beat in the brandy and flour until the mixture is smooth.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfulls of mixture on to the baking tray.
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
Use a metal spatula to remove the biscuits from the tray and place over a small bottle (spice bottles are perfect size) to shape into a tuile. If the biscuits start to harden on the tray just pop your tray back into the hot oven for a couple of seconds and they will soften again.
Store the brandy snap tuiles in an airtight container.
To make the white chocolate cream
Melt your white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Allow to cool slightly and then stir in the cream.
Add the mascarpone and icing sugar and mix until well combined.
Store the chocolate cream in the refrigerator.
Bring the pears back to room temperature.
Place a pear on each plate and spoon some of the red wine syrup over each pear.
Spoon some of the white chocolate cream into a brandy snap tuile and dust with cinnamon powder.
I’ve finally finished all my DIY projects, packed away my paint brushes and cleaned up the mess. Oh, and made a note to myself to never start house decorating a month before Christmas again! We spent the weekend putting up the Christmas tree and decorations so finally I feel like I might just be ready for Christmas. My 5 year old daughter had a last minute panic thinking that she may be on Santas naughty list whereas my 7 year old son knows for sure that he is on the good list. If I was putting money on it I would have it the other way round for sure. To finish off the weekend I made these chocolate desserts using up the last little bit of Baileys which I had. To get into the Christmas spirit I had the kids help me make little chocolate Christmas trees which they covered in sprinkles and silver balls. A bit of whipped cream on top of the dessert and our chocolate Christmas trees looked very festive.
This month’s theme for We Should Cocoa is chocolate and alcohol and is hosted by the lovely Choclette herself. As this is also a Dead Easy Dessert and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes I am submitting it over to Maison Cupcakes monthly challenge. Another great link up is Emily’s Recipe of the Week. Lots of good ideas. Thanks to my Mum for this delicious recipe.
Well it would seem that my ‘O’ Level Home Economics is coming in quite handy for Maison Cupcake’sDead Easy Desserts challenge. Last month I submitted my Chocolate Blancmange and this month I have opted for the very quick and easy Lemon Posset. I can remember quite clearly that there was much laughing and giggling when we were told the name of this dessert – we were only 16 years old and a double period of Home Economics didn’t hold everyone’s attention as much as it did mine.
A Posset originates from as far back as the 1600’s and has changed quite considerably over the years. It started off its days as more of a drink made from milk or cream which had been enriched with sugar and alcohol rather than the citrus fruits we use today.
This Lemon Posset is an incredibly easy dessert to make but it can be very rich, I serve mine up in small dishes (ok, so I normally end up eating two) and serve them with a fruit sauce made from raspberries to help cut through the richness. You can also sprinkle some caster sugar on the top and caramelise it using a cook’s torch to make a cheats crème brûlée. In my photos I have decorated the possets with sugar coated red currants. If you fancy doing this then dip your fruit lightly into some beaten egg white, shake off as much as you can and then coat the fruit in caster sugar. Arrange on a cooling rack to dry. This dessert keeps well in the fridge until the next day but any longer and the lemon juice will start to separate from the cream. Still tastes good though.
Most of us will have heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but may not think of it in terms of food. Well, this Italian Almond Tart makes me think of exactly that. It is nothing much to look at – it is all very beige and there is no lovely sauce or chocolate dripping down the sides to make us drool. A real plain Jane! Until, that is you cut into it and serve yourself a deliciously moist and fragrant slice to go with your afternoon tea. It is so good that I made one the very next day for my hubby to take into work and everybody loved it. I made my own almond paste and I would highly recommend that you try this at least once. It is so easy to make, it’s fresh and full of flavour and will make all the difference to your tart. Your choice of jam will also play a big part in how your finished tart tastes. For my first attempt I used a cherry jam which had whole cherries in it. It was quite sweet and I wasn’t overly enthused by the chunks of cherry. For my second attempt I used a smooth Christmas spice fruit jam and I thought this was much better.
For those of you who are interested in how I decorated the tart – yes I did stand and pick out all the whole slices of almonds from a pack and yes it did take me a long time to place them all so neatly round the entire tart and yes I am completely mad! I also made a rose from some of the left over almond paste. I only placed it on the tart 10 minutes before the tart was due to come out the oven to crisp it up a bit and give it some colour.