Poached Pears stuffed with Dates and Figs

I’m back at work and Information overload has set in, email, phone calls, meetings, catch up, research, study….. when it all gets a bit much my head space is in the gym or in the kitchen. This evening I baked a load of madeleines into which I tucked the last of the raspberries. Little pretty oval shapes with raspberries poking out – I’ll bring them to work where they wont last long … I also finished off this pear dessert and since I’v made it a few times but never posted it, I think it’s time. I might be overworking the description ‘easy to prepare’ but this really is, unless you are very fussy about trying to carve a decorative collar out of the skin on the top of the pear. This was supposed to be scalloped but half way through I decided a simple curve would be a good achievement. These can be served with caramel sauce (below) or vanilla ice cream if you don’t fancy making that.

Serves 6
six ripe pears ideally william or conference
juice of 1 lemon
100gr sugar
1 vanilla pod split
100gr each of dates and soft dried figs, finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
Caramel sauce to serve

Using a small sharp knife mark a collar in the skin around of the top of the pear, then peel away the skin from the collar to the base. Take a slim slice off the base of the pear so that it stands up and using a melon baller scoop out the core and the pips, working from the bottom up.
Stand the pears upright in a saucepan just large enough to hold them snugly. Pour in 1 litre of water, lemon juice, sugar and the vanilla pod and seeds. Slowly bring to the boil and poach on a gently heat for about 10 / 15 minutes depending on their ripeness. Transfer the pears and syrup to a dish and set aside to cool. (Keep the vanilla pod for use again)

Pour the rum over the diced figs and mix together lightly with your fingers. When you are ready to serve, drain the pears and using a small teaspoon, fill the cavity of each pear generously with the date and fig mixture. Place on your serving plate and serve with some caramel sauce and any excess fruit can be spooned alongside the pear.

Caramel Sauce
100gr caster sugar
100ml water
1 vanilla pod
200ml cream

Combine sugar and water in a pan. Scrape the seeds into the pan and stir over a very low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn up the heat and cook until the mixture turns a deep caramel colour. Dont stir once the sugar has dissolved just swirl the pot occasionally being careful not to spill on your hands as it will be REALLY hot!. Once you get the deep caramel colour, remove from the heat and stir in the cream, being careful as the mix will splutter. Mix well to combine, it will be like a hard caramel at first but will soften. Return to a medium stirring constantly until the sauce is perfectly smooth and lovely shiny. Serve the sauce once it has cooled . Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and use over icecream, tarts or the lovely stuffed pears.

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