Spiced Pears with Chocolate Sauce

These spiced pears are sweet and soft and gently fragranced with cinnamon, vanilla and cloves.  The chocolate sauce complements the pears perfectly and the whole thing is helped along wonderfully with the addition of some vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

For the Pears

1 lb 8 oz / 750g Golden Caster Sugar

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 strips Lemon Zest

1 Star Anise

1 Vanilla Pod

5 Cloves

A thumb sized piece Fresh Root Ginger

4 ripe Pears

Method

Use a pan that will hold all the pears snugly.  Half fill the pan with water and add the sugar.  Peel and chop the ginger and add to the pan along with the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, cloves and vanilla pod (halved lengthways).  Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutess to allow all the flavours to infuse.  Peel the pears and place them in the syrup, cover and gently poach for about 30 mins until soft. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool. The pears can be poached up to 2 days ahead and kept in the poaching syrup in the fridge.

For the chocolate Sauce

200g Dark Chocolate

5 fl oz / 150 ml Double Cream

5 fl oz / 150 ml full-fat Milk

A pinch of Ground Cinnamon

Method

Break up the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream, milk and cinnamon to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted.

To serve, drain the pears and either dip them in the sauce or serve the sauce separately alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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