Preparation time : 45 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 pears
  • 250g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 1l milk
  • 8-10 egg yolks
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 10 filo pastries
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Liquorice in liquid or stick
  • Five spice
  • Brown sugar
  • Icing sugar (to decorate)

Preparing the “crème anglaise” custard

Bring the milk to the boil with the liquorice.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture whitens.

Gradually add the milk while stirring all the time.

Transfer to a pan and heat over a low flame. Stir well with a spatula making sure that the cream does not stick to the base as it thickens.

As soon as the cream coats the spatula, remove from the heat and pass through a very fine sieve. Set aside to cool.

Preparing the pie and pears

Peel the pears, cut in half and remove the core and pips etc.

With the pastry, cut out round circles, then coat with melted butter using a pastry brush. Sprinkle lightly with the ground almonds, brown sugar and 5 spice. Place in the oven at 200°C and when golden, remove and set aside on a tray.

In a frying pan, brown the pear-halves on every side in butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar to caramelise the fruit. Finish off in the oven for 6-10 mins or until the pears are soft.

To serve

Cut the pear halves into thin slices. Place a pastry disc in the centre of a plate, add a slice of pear, and repeat once again, finishing off with a pastry disc and forming 5 layers in total. Decorate the plate with liquorice cream and dust with icing sugar.

Food and wine pairing

It’s all about the subtle sweetness and harmony of different textures in this delicately spiced dessert; the alliance of the wonderfully rounded and elegant Chateau de Ricaud Loupiac 2000, with its honey and candied citrus fruit notes would be an obvious choice.

Top Tips from the Chef

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have any liquorice sticks, liquorice liquid aroma works just as well.