200g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 ripe South African pears, peeled, halved and cored
60ml poire Williams (optional)
120g softened unsalted butter
120g caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
100g plain flour
40g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
To serve: crème fraiche, vanilla ice-cream or custard
20 minutes (plus 1 hour cooling)
South African Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling) will work well with this dish. Riesling has adapted well to South African’s soil and climate. This grape variety produces very full and flavourful wines which will develop well with bottle ageing. The wines have a honeyed spicy nose and a flowery sweetness on the palate.
Wine recommendations by Wines of South Africa
- For the poached pears, stir sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and 400ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add pears halves and liqueur (if using), bring to simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low, simmer for 5 minutes, then cool pears completely in poaching liquid (1hour). Drain pears and thinly slice.
- Preheat oven to 180°C / fan oven 160°C / Gas Mark 4. Spread hazelnuts on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until browned (5-6 minutes). Rub with a tea towel to remove skins, then coarsely crush with a rolling pin and set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy, or beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, beat to combine, then add the flour, almonds and baking powder and fold in with a large metal spoon to combine.
- Spread the mixture into a large ovenproof dish (approx. 1 litre) and arrange the sliced pears on top. Scatter with crushed hazelnuts and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
- Serve hot with crème fraiche, vanilla ice-cream or custard.