Baked pears, hazelnut praline ice cream and biscotti
- September 2012
- Serves 4
- Takes 15 minutes to make, 50 minutes to cook, plus overnight cooling and churning or freezing
Showcase beautiful British pears with this dessert recipe – it’s perfect for a dinner party as you can make the gorgeous hazelnut ice cream in advance.
For something a little simpler, try our riesling-poached pears with ginger flapjack crumble.
- 32.6g (13.6g saturated)
- 47.9g (45.3g sugars)
- 1 large vanilla pod
- 50g caster sugar
- 6 firm pears
- 40g semi-salted butter
- Pared zest of 1 small lemon, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the hazelnut praline ice cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 200ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream
- 5 medium free-range egg yolks
- 250g caster sugar
- 200g skinned hazelnuts
- Hazelnut or almond biscotti
- For the ice cream, slit the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the pod and seeds into a pan with the milk and cream. Bring just to the boil, then set aside for 30 minutes to infuse. Remove the vanilla pod and discard (or wash and dry it, then push into a jar of caster sugar to infuse). In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 100g of the sugar until pale and thick. Bring the milk and cream back to the boil, strain, then whisk into the egg yolks. Return to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring, until the custard lightly coats the back of a spoon and the trail stays when you run your finger through it. It should reach between 82°C and 84°C, but no higher. Pour into a bowl, allow to cool, then cover and chill overnight.
- To make the praline paste, preheat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until richly golden. Meanwhile, put the remaining 150g sugar into a wide-based pan over a low heat with a splash of water and leave until the sugar dissolves. If any sugar sticks to the sides of the pan, brush it away with a wet pastry brush. Once the syrup is clear, increase the heat and cook until it turns into a brick-red caramel. If any sugar goes up the side of the pan, brush it down using a wet pastry brush.
- Add the nuts to the pan and swirl to coat. Tip onto a tray lined with baking paper and leave to go cold.
- Snap the praline into small pieces, put into a food processor, then grind for a 1-2 minutes until it forms a ball of smooth paste. Transfer to ?a mixing bowl, cover and set aside.
- The next day, gradually mix the cold custard into the hazelnut paste, then churn in an ice-cream maker until smooth. If you don’t have an ice-?cream maker, pour the mixture into a shallow container and freeze until almost solid. Scrape into a food processor, blend briefly until smooth, then return to the container and freeze once more. Repeat this 2-3 times until smooth. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
- For the pears, preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Slit open the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Mix the seeds with the sugar, then cut the pod into 4 pieces. Peel the pears, cut in half lengthways and neatly scoop out the cores with a melon-baller or teaspoon.
- Grease a shallow ovenproof dish with a little butter, then add the pears, cut-side up. Drizzle with the lemon juice and 2 tbsp water, then push the strips of lemon zest and chopped vanilla pod in among the pears. Dot over the remaining butter, then sprinkle with the vanilla sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes until just tender when pierced with a sharp knife (this will depend on the variety and ripeness of the pears). Baste every 10 minutes or so with the juices, turning the fruit over after 25 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and biscotti.
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