Yesterday evening we had a crowd of friends round for dinner. As we’re still enjoying wonderfully sunny and warm weather, I wanted something light which would appeal to everyone and could be served at room temperature outside on the terrace.
We started with an apero of sparkling rosé wine with nibbles, followed by my gazpacho soup with water melon and black olive fougasse.
A main course of Salade Niçoise, made with salmon not tuna,
followed by these soft caramel pears. It can all be prepared well in advance so, no stress!
1. Preheat oven to 240C/220C fan/500F/Gas mark 6. Combine maple syrup, sugar, butter, juices, zest, liquer, star anise and cinnamon in a roasting pan large enough to fit halved pears snugly in a single layer, and place in oven for butter and maple syrup to melt (1-2 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, halve pears and scoop out cores. I use a melon-baller. Stir maple syrup mixture in roasting pan to combine, add pears cut-side down and roast, turning halfway through cooking, until tender and caramelised (40-45 minutes, depending on firmness of the fruit; check every 15 minutes). Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
3. Meanwhile, for vanilla crème fraîche, whisk ingredients in a bowl to soft peaks. Serve pears topped with vanilla crème fraîche and nuts! How easy was that?