Poached pears with ginger-chocolate ganache in whi...

Poached pears with ginger-chocolate ganache in white chocolate nests

Poached pear with ginger chocolate ganache and white chocolate nests

The flavours, the textures, the techniques … I cannot prepare you for how enthralling this dessert is. Whole pears poached in moscato that’s gently spiced with ginger, filled and coated in silky ganache, then placed in a nest of thinly piped white chocolate. If you’re after ‘wow’, look no further.

Serves 6


For the ginger chocolate ganache
480g good-quality milk chocolate
240ml thickened (whipping) cream
15g liquid glucose
30ml ginger juice (squeezed through a sieve from grated fresh ginger)
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of sea salt
70g unsalted butter, cubed

For the poached pears
6 pears, ripe but still firm
750ml moscato wine, or other sweet dessert wine
400g caster (superfine) sugar
400ml water
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 tablespoons honey
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the white chocolate nests
200g good-quality white chocolate


To make the ginger chocolate ganache
Place the milk chocolate in a bowl.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, glucose, ginger juice, ground ginger and salt, then bring to the boil.
Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated.
Keep whisking while adding the butter, one piece at a time, until smooth and shiny.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache and set aside at room temperature for 5 hours to firm up.

For the poached pears
Peel the pears, leaving the stems on. Rub the flesh with a clean scourer to create a smooth finish.
In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, sugar, water, cinnamon, honey, ginger and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey has melted.
Add the pears, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25–30 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender. If the pears are small, reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.
Remove the pears from the liquid, transfer to a plate and leave to cool completely. They can be stored in the fridge while you finish the other preparations.

For the chocolate nests
Place a slab of granite or marble or a heavy tray in the freezer, preferably overnight.
In a microwave-safe plastic bowl, heat the chocolate in the microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until just melted.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a snaplock bag or piping bag and cut a very small tip off the end.
Place the frozen stone or tray on a tea towel on your work surface. Pipe lines of chocolate, about 20–30 cm (8–12 inches) long and the thickness of spaghetti, onto the frozen stone. Lift the piped chocolate when set but still flexible, and twist it to create a nest that will fit the base of the pears. The best way to do this is to take a cup or mug that is slightly bigger than the base of your pear, freeze it, then place it on the frozen stone and wrap your chocolate around it to create your nest.
Leave the chocolate to set on the stone for up to 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.

To assemble
Remove the core of each pear from its base, leaving the stem intact. Do this by turning the pear upside down and using a small knife to cut out the centre without removing the whole base.
Transfer half the prepared ganache to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm (½ inch) plain piping nozzle. Fill the cavities in the base of the pears with ganache.
Set the pears aside in the fridge.
In a microwave-safe plastic bowl, melt the remaining ginger–chocolate ganache in the microwave on high, gently stirring with a spatula at 20-second intervals to avoid incorporating air, until completely melted but not hot.
Place the pears on a wire cooling rack with a tray underneath. Pour the ganache over the pears. Leave them to sit for 2 minutes to allow the excess glaze to drip off. Using the stem, lift each pear slightly so the base is still in contact with the wire rack and twist it on the rack to remove any excess glaze from the base.
Place the prepared chocolate nests on serving plates. Top each with a pear just before serving.
The chocolate ganache can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature below 25°C (77°F). The pears can be poached in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before filling and glazing.

If you don’t have a piece of portable stone, you can make the chocolate nests by piping the tempered chocolate in individual circles on a sheet of baking paper. When the chocolate sets, you can stack the chocolate circles to create the nest.
As every pear is different, you can use a small knife to periodically test them while they are simmering to ensure you achieve a soft, tender consistency.

If the ganache looks grainy just after you’ve made it, try whisking it vigorously. If it doesn’t come together, boil another 2 tablespoons of cream, then add it to the ganache and whisk again.

For an extra hit of alcohol, you can add 30ml (1 fl oz) of William pear liqueur to the ganache after all the ingredients have been combined.

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