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French Recipe: Poached pears with hokey pokey custard

Here is the recipe of one of the most special French Treats, the poached pears with hokey pokey custard.


1 cup (220g) caster sugar

Pinch of saffron threads

Rind of 1 lemon, cut into strips

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

4 pears


1 cup (250ml) pure (thin) cream

1/3 cup (80ml) milk

1/2 cup (180g) runny honey

3 egg yolks

2 titanium-strength gelatine leaves

425g caster sugar

1/2 cup (175g) liquid glucose syrup

20g bicarbonate of soda, sifted

1. For the hokey pokey custard, place cream, milk and half of the honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place yolks in a large bowl and whisk to aerate slightly. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Return to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes until the mixture thickens and reaches 82°C on a sugar thermometer. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Pass mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl, then cover the surface directly with a round of baking paper. Refrigerate until needed.

2. To make the honeycomb, grease a deep heatproof tray and line the base and sides with baking paper. Place the remaining 1/4 cup honey, sugar, glucose and 1/3 cup (80ml) water in a large, deep saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until the syrup reaches 160°C on a sugar thermometer. Pour mixture into prepared tray and allow to set for 20 minutes or until at room temperature.

3. Half-fill a small saucepan with water, then add the sugar, saffron, lemon rind, vanilla pod and seeds. Place over medium heat and cook until sugar has dissolved. Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact, and add to the pan (they should be snug). Top up with extra warm water so the pears are submerged. Remove pears from syrup and set aside to cool. Bring poaching liquid to the boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until thick and syrupy.

4. When ready to serve, place chilled custard in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Divide custard among 4 serving plates, top each with a poached pear, drizzle over saffron syrup and scatter with honeycomb pieces.

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