- 4 pears
- 1 litre water
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 star anise
- 100 ml organic maple syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
For the filling
- 140 g organic almond butter
- 20 g organic extra virgin coconut oil
- 20 ml maple syrup
- 1 tsp organic vanilla essence
For the chocolate sauce
- 100 g dark dairy-free chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 160 ml coconut milk
- 40 ml maple syrup
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
- Split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and place in a large pan or casserole dish (one that has a lid), along with the water, maple syrup, lemon juice and star anise. Place on a low heat, stir and bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat and leave to infuse while you prepare the pears and their filling.
- Melt the coconut oil over a gentle heat. Place the ground almonds, maple syrup and vanilla essence in a bowl, add the coconut oil and mix together into a stiff paste.
- Peel the pears and then, working quickly but carefully, use a sharp knife to slice of about half a centimetre from the base. Next, use a melon baller or small teaspoon to remove the core, hollowing out a cavity to remove the pips and central woody parts but keeping the pear and the stem intact.
- Carefully place the pears into the infused maple and spice syrup. Place the casserole dish or pan over a low heat and place a lid over the top. Poach gently for 25 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove the pan from the heat but leave the pears to cool in the poaching liquid.
- When the pears have cooled to room temperature, remove them from the poaching liquid and very carefully fill each pear with some of the stuffing. Place the stuffed pears in the fridge for 30 minutes. This allows the coconut oil to set and the stuffing to firm up.
- For the sauce, place the coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir and place over a low heat. Before the mixture comes to the boil, remove from the heat. Add the chocolate pieces in batches, whisking as you do so, until you have a smooth sauce.
- To serve, carefully cut each pear into half using a sharp knife. place two pear halves on each plate, surrounded with a generous puddle of the chocolate sauce.
Recipe & photo from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen