5 perfect pears with stems 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 cup white wine 1 cup water 1/4 cup honey 1/4 vanilla bean 1/4 star anise 5 black peppercorns
In a large stockpot bring the wine, water, honey, vanilla, star anise and peppercorns to a boil, reduce to a simmer ready for poaching the pears. Prepare a large bowl of cold water containg lemon juice to prevent the pears discolouring after they are peeled. Peel the pears carefully, leaving the stems intact. Gently add the pears to the pot, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until they are just tender. Remove the pears to a baking sheet covered with cooking paper and allow to cool.
Cut the pears in half (towards the top) horizontally. Using a melon baller, scoop out the pulp from the bottom half, creating a small cavity. Discard the core and reserve the pulp to use in the filling.
Make the filling and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Make the caramel sauce and keep warm until ready to use. Place the pears on individual serving plates. Fill the cavity of each pear with 1 - 2 tablespoons of the pastry cream and pour the caramel sauce over and around. Garnish with a few mint leaves.
80 mls milk 1/4 vanilla bean 1 large egg yolk 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon unsalted butter 1/8 cup mashed pear pulp 1 teaspoon brandy
Scald the milk with the vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds for extra flavour. Beat the egg yolk, sugar, cornstarch and ginger until pale yellow. Slowly add the hot milk in small increments, stirring constantly. Transfer to a double boiler, add the butter, and continue stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the top saucepan from the double boiler and place it in a large pan filled with ice water; whisk the mixture briskly as it cools. Cook the pulp over medium heat for 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to evaporate (microwave?). Stir this into the cooled pastry cream and add the brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
3/4 cup sugar 1/8 cup water 225 mls heavy cream
In a small saucepan heat the water and sugar over medium high heat, without stirring, until it forms a golden brown syrup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the cream all at once, stir with a wooden spoon and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes until it is a uniform, thick caramel consistency. Keep warm in a bowl over hot water until ready to use.