I was going through some recipes and came across one for caramelised figs. So, when I saw some juicy pears at the market, I decided to try and do the same with them. Pears are so versatile and are perfect with pastry, salad and puddings. This dessert looks so elegant and it’s really easy to make. Just the thing for a special dinner party!
I decided to pair the caramelised pears with a baked custard. The nice thing about baking a custard is that you can just fill the ramekins and pop them in the oven. So easy! I used cardamom powder to sprinkle on the tops of the custard. When I turned out the custard, the cardamom was nicely settled at the bottom and looked beautiful.
Absolutely delicious – succulent pears coated with this gooey, melted caramel sauce and the subtly flavoured cardamom custard. Just yummy!
8 small pears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
For the Cardamom Custard:
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Peel the pears leaving the stalk intact. Cut in half and remove the core. Rub the pears with the lemon juice.
Melt the butter in an oven proof frying pan. Add both the sugars and stir, but do not let it dissolve. Put the pears into the mixture with the cut side facing downwards. Spoon the melted sugar mixture over them occasionally. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, taking care to baste the pears from time to time.
Remove the pan from the oven and flip the pears carefully. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the cores are golden and the pears are cooked through. Transfer the pears to another dish and place the frying pan on heat. Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it is a rich golden brown. Add the honey, salt and vanilla and mix well. Remove from heat.
Method (Cardamom Custard):
Scald the milk. Combine the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat well. Add the milk to the egg mixture gradually (you do not want to cook the eggs). Beat until smooth and pour the custard into 4 ramekins; place the ramekins in a shallow pan in hot water. Sprinkle the custard with the cardamom powder. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and turn out carefully while serving. Serve with the pears and spoon the caramel on top.
Photographs by Awanthi Vardaraj