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The Global Gastronome: spicy chocolate pears

At this time of year I like nothing better than a warm, sweet dessert.

Poached pear
Poached pear

Pears are fantastic in January so why not give them a bit of a fusion twist with this spicy recipe. Give it a try.

Cardamom Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

4 conference pears, peeled, cored and kept in acidulated water

250g of caster sugar

600ml of Vin Santo

1 lemon, juiced

1 vanilla pod

2 star anise

16 cardamom pods, cracked

1 tub of vanilla ice cream

50g of dark chocolate

50g of caster sugar

25g of cocoa powder

375ml of water

1 Place the caster sugar, sweet wine, lemon juice, vanilla pod, star anise and cardamom  into a large thick bottomed sauce­pan and leave to dissolve for 3-4 minutes

2 Add the peeled pears to the saucepan with the  sugar and spices and place on the heat

3 Bring the saucepan to the boil and simmer for no more than 5 mins,then remove the pan from the heat

4 Leave the pears to cool down in the saucepan until they are just warm

5 To make the chocolate sauce, place the water, sugar and cocoa powder into a thick bottomed saucepan and bring to the boilSimmer gently for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally to ensure the cocoa powder is fully mixed in and remove from the heatAdd the chocolate pieces slowly. stirring continuously until all the pieces have melted into the water mix and a smooth chocolate sauce is achieved

6 Remove the poached pears from the cooking liquor and place onto some kitchen paper or cloth to remove any excess liquid

To Serve

Sit an upright poached pear on the plate and place a scoop of vanilla ice cream next to it. Pour the hot chocolate sauce around it and serve.

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