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A leisurely bubble in spiced, sweetened tea transforms a simple fruit into a beautifully aromatic autumn dessert. These are good warm or at room temperature, but always with a generous dollop of cinnamon cream. You can also scatter the pears with some toasted flaked almonds or granola for a little added crunch if you like.
3 cardamom pods
2 chai tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
110g caster sugar
4 medium conference pears, peeled (stalks intact)
150ml double cream
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Bash the cardamom pods and put in a medium pan with the tea bags, cinnamon, 100g sugar and 500ml water. Set over a gentle heat to dissolve the sugar, then turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Cut a thin slice from the base of each pear so they can stand upright later. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low, use a spoon to squeeze out the tea bags against the side of the pan and discard. Add the pears to the tea mixture. Cut out a circle of baking parchment slightly larger than the diameter of the pan and scrunch it up. Unfurl the parchment, then rest it on top of the pears. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes, turning the pears occasionally, until just tender.
2. Transfer the pears to a bowl, then carefully remove the whole spices from the pan and return it to the heat. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about 1⁄3 and is syrupy. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then pour the syrup over the pears and set aside to cool a little. Either serve warm straightaway or cover and chill for up to 24 hours, turning the pears in the syrup every now and then so they macerate evenly.
3. To serve, put the cream, cinnamon and remaining 10g caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk the mixture to soft peaks. Stand the pears upright in shallow bowls, pour over a little of the syrup and add a dollop of the whipped cream.
IN A SLOW COOKER
Put the tea bags in a jug and cover with 500ml just-boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put the pears, sugar, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods in a slow cooker (at least 3.5 litres). When the tea has brewed, remove the tea bags and pour the tea over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours 30 minutes until the pears are tender. Follow from step 2 of the recipe.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in October 2021.