Pear & yuzu

A dessert that looks just like the fruit it’s made from seems to be the ‘old age new’. It was trendy back when Heston Blumenthal did it and also when Cedric Grolet brought his signature style of incredibly stunning fruit desserts. Here’s my take on a fruit-shaped pear dessert that’s fresh, light and fragrant, and fun to create.
It’s simplest to make it with a pear-shaped mould but you can shape it by hand, although it does take more time and effort.

Serves 4

WHAT YOU NEED

Stewed pear inserts

1 beurre bosc pear
Juice of ½ lemon
20 g (¾ oz) butter
60 g (2¼ oz) white (granulated) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pectin NH powder

Pear & yuzu whipped ganache

½ gelatine sheet (titanium grade)
165 ml (5½ fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
45 g (1½ oz) white chocolate
50 g (1¾ oz) pear purée
10 ml (¼ fl oz) yuzu juice

Chocolate twigs

50 g (1¾ oz) dark chocolate
Ice

Cocoa butter coating

150 g (5½ oz) cocoa butter
Green apple colouring (fat soluble)
Yellow colouring (fat soluble)
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Assembly

Dark cocoa powder, for dusting

WHAT TO DO

Stewed pear inserts

Peel and dice the pear into 5 mm (¼ inch) cubes. Toss the pear with the lemon juice.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the pear. Combine the sugar, vanilla, ginger and pectin, then add the mixture to the pan and stir well. Cook for 15–20 minutes or until the pear has softened.

Spoon the pear mixture into four 2.5 cm (1 inch) diameter silicone sphere moulds and freeze until solid.

Pear & yuzu whipped ganache

Soak the gelatine in cold water to soften.

Combine half of the cream in a saucepan with the vanilla seeds and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the softened gelatine, add it to the pan and stir until dissolved and well combined.

Put the white chocolate in a bowl, pour in the hot cream mixture and stir until melted and well combined. Stir in the pear purée and yuzu juice, then pour in the remaining cream and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set.

Transfer the pear mixture to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped ganache to a piping bag. Pipe the whipped ganache into four pear-shaped silicone moulds, leaving a 2 cm (¾ inch) gap at the top. Press a frozen stewed pear insert down into each pear cavity. Cover with more ganache, then level the surface with a spatula. Place the pears in the freezer. Reserve the left-over ganache for assembly.

Chocolate twigs

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave or over a saucepan of simmering water. Transfer to a piping bag and cut 1 cm (½ inch) off the tip.

Pipe the chocolate into a bowl of iced water to create twigs. Once set, remove the twigs from the water and drain on paper towel. Store in the fridge until needed.

Cocoa butter coating

Put the cocoa butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Blend in the colouring until the coating resembles the colour of a green pear, then add the vanilla seeds. Transfer the mixture to a jug and set aside.

Assembly

Check that the cocoa butter coating is between 40°C (104°F) and 45°C (113°F). If necessary, reheat the dip in 10–20 seconds bursts in the microwave.

Remove the frozen pears from the moulds and patch up any air bubbles with the left-over ganache. Use your palms to smooth the outside of the pears.

Carefully insert a skewer through the top of one of the pears, ensuring it is secure. Dip the pear into the coating until completely submerged, then lift it up, scraping the bottom on the edge of the jug to flatten it, and place on a silicone mat to dry. Remove the skewer and insert a chocolate twig into the hole. Repeat with the remaining pears. Place the pears in the fridge to thaw before serving.

Finish by lightly brushing a little cocoa powder on one side of the pears.


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