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This is a game changer dessert – the hot, spicy and rich flavours complement the pears – a dazzling and fresh shock of taste to end the meal. The key is the sauce, and as with most of my favourites the whole dish can be made well beforehand and so perfected.

½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and cloves.

  • Large pinch of chilli flakes (more to taste).
  • 4 turns of black pepper.
  • 1 pear per person, peeled, bottom cut flat to stand up – put pear peelings in the pot.
  • 1 lemon sliced.
  • Zest of 1 orange.
  • Handful of chopped mint leaves.
  • 2 bottles white wine.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar.
  • 1 sachet saffron.
  1. Place peeled pears in pot on peelings.
  2. Add all other ingredients with sufficient wine to cover the pears.
  3. Simmer till pears are soft (10-15 minutes) – don’t overcook.
  4. Turn off heat and leave to cool (1 hour). Reserve pears in fridge.
  5. Reduce remaining liquor in a hard boil to 50%. It should be slightly sticky and as thick as heavy cream. Strain the liquor and check for taste – chili hot plus saffron and spicy sweet. Cool in a serving jug in the fridge.
  6. Serve each pear, chilled, standing on its plate, with a covering of sauce, plus a dollop of cream and a mint leaf.

I like to serve with a glass of sweet white wine – a Sauterne or Barsac