The Crooked Billet

Potted Pear & Nutmeg Chocolate

Serves 6

Potted Pear & Nutmeg Chocolate

With the abundance of pears – ripe & literally dripping off Henley’s trees, I have to include them on my menus. This sexy little pud – a hybrid mongrel somewhere between Olde English Knickerbocker glory & trifle.

For the Pear:

3 conference pears

25g unsalted butter

1 tbsp muscovado sugar

Good grating of nutmeg

Peel the pears, cut in half, remove cores, place small knob of butter in each hollow, sprinkle with muscovado & nutmeg. Bake in preheated 170°C oven for 5 minutes. Thereafter cut into 5mm dice & drain off excess liquids.

For the Nutmeg Custard:

300ml full fat milk

125ml whipping cream

1 bay leaf

3 eggs & 1 egg yolk

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

50g caster sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

In a saucepan over moderate heat, bring cream, milk & the bay leaf to a simmer. Remove from heat, allow to cool & infuse.

Beat together eggs, yolk, vanilla & sugar. Pour the cooled milk over the egg mixture. Remove the bay leaf. Stir with wooden spoon. Sieve the mixture into ovenproof ramekins, half filling them. Divide the diced pear between the dishes. Grate a little nutmeg over each dish.

Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin half filled with hot water. Bake in a preheated 170°C oven for 20 minutes.  They are ready when a skin forms on top & the centre is no longer liquid. Leave to cool then refrigerate.

For the Chocolate Ice Cream:

The pear & nutmeg custard is topped with a dark chocolate ice cream. At home I have a MagiMix bench-top ice cream maker, which is perfect. Alternatively pour the following mixture into a shallow container & freeze in the freezer, beating it 3 or 4 times during the freezing process to break down the crystals & make it smooth.

275ml double cream

275ml full fat milk

75g caster sugar

5 egg yolks

200g dark chocolate, small pieces

Bring cream, milk & half the sugar to a simmer, beat the remaining eggs & sugar together. Slowly pour hot cream onto the egg mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Return to a clean saucepan, stirring continuously over low heat. Remove from the heat when the mixture coats back of spoon.

Melt chocolate in glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, fold into the custard mixture. Churn the chocolate mixture in an ice cream machine. When ready top the chilled pear & nutmeg pots with the ice cream & dust with icing sugar.


Chef’s Note:

For the dried pear wafer accompaniment, slice an unpeeled pear thinly on a mandolin. Squeeze on some lemon juice to prevent browning. Bake on silicone paper at 75°C for 2 hours.