Pears, raisins and pine nuts baked in moscatelServes 6
This makes a lovely, rustic-looking, dark and glossy pudding. If you can’t find Moscatel – an inexpensive Spanish dessert wine – use Marsala or medium sherry instead. Roughly chopped hazelnuts or almonds will do just as well as pine nuts.
- 70g (2 ½oz) raisins
- 250ml (9fl oz) Moscatel
- 6 slightly under-ripe pears, halved and cored
- 50ml (2fl oz) water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 40g (1 ½oz) soft light or dark brown sugar
- 20g (¾oz) pine nuts
- Put the raisins in a small saucepan and pour on the Moscatel. Bring to just under the boil, then leave the raisins to plump up for about 30 minutes.
- Lay the pears, cut-side up, in a single layer in a shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon the raisins around them – if they’re put on top, they will burn. Pour on the Moscatel, water and lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the pears and around them. Put the dish in an oven preheated to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pears are tender and starting to wrinkle at the edges. From time to time, spoon the juices over the top. Add the pine nuts midway through cooking.
- Serve at room temperature with crème fraîche or Greek yogurt.
…Baked pears stuffed with chocolate and hazelnuts
Halve and core 6 pears, then crush 3 digestive biscuits, 85g (3oz) hazelnuts and 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar together. Add a small beaten egg and 85g (3oz) chopped dark chocolate. Spoon the filling into the core cavities and over the pears, sprinkle with 40g (1 ½oz) soft light brown sugar and nuggets of butter (use about 15g/½oz). Bake as above, with 250ml (9fl oz) sweet wine, 50ml (2fl oz) water and the juice of 1 lemon poured around the pears. Scatter on coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts.