Red & White Pears with Spiced Sponge

IMG_20121210_074227I’m Baacckk from Buckingham Palace guys!! I had an experience I will never forget. The early morning starts, the crisp, dark walk through Green Park as the sunrises in the morning and the sheer excitement of actually going into the palace and cooking for Her Majesty and the Household.IMG_20121208_085419

I really can’t believe Christmas is next week :O. The time is flying and it doesn’t seem to want to pause for a breather when you need it the most especially when Christmas is the busiest time of the year for me. Christmas fairs, Christmas baking and all the extra bits I’ve done like going to Buckingham Palace to cook and the mountains of coursework due before we break up. It’s hectic. I know some of you may be shocked, disgusted even, to see what I’m about to write but it’s the truth! Christmas is not my favourite holiday/time of the year.

I know, I know how can someone not LOVE Christmas. It’s not like I don’t like it at all, I just don’t love it as much as most people. All I see is a religious holiday turned into some money making novelty fest. People splashing out on bundles of presents and forgetting that Christmas is not just about the presents. It’s about spending time with the family around the table eating, talking and creating unforgettable moments. Playing games and watching the yearly cheesy Christmas film on the television. That is what it is about!!!

I’m not really into baking the novelties associated with Christmas like Christmas tree cookies or snowman shaped cupcakes. It’s not really my thing. Maybe as I progress more into this blog that I become more of a fan of holiday novelty baker.  My sincerest apologies I reverted back to my old ways of taking only one photo.. But I think you don’t need more than one photo to see how delicious this dessert was. Yes it was beautiful, my chef thought so as well. Another one of my uni creates. Poached pear is  pretty simple dish, so I totally revamped the idea, striping the pear,  serving it with Chantilly cream, spiced sponge, wine soaked raisins, apple and pear compote and brittle. Yummy! This dish is perfect for a Christmas dinner party as all the components can be made ahead of time. Christmassy flavours of spice and bold red wine with fruity pears and boozy raisins. BEWARE there are a lot of components 

For the poached pear…
4 pears
1/2 a bottle of decent red wine
50g raisins
peel of one orange and lemon
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
few allspice berries
100g caster sugar

For the apple & pear puree…
1 granny smith apple (peeled and chopped)
1 cooking apple(peeled and chopped)
1 pear(peeled and chopped)
50g sugar
1tsp cinnamon, vanilla & ground ginger

For the spice cake…
120g brown sugar
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground nutmeg
200g soft butter
3 eggs
50ml milk
225g plain flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder

For the chantilly cream
500ml double cream
75g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla pod

Cake 1st
Preheat the oven to 170°C
Cream the butter, spices and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.
Add ll the wet ingredients and after combined pour into a lined square or rectangle cake tin. Doesn’t matter what size, you are going to cut it into squares.
Bake for 18-25 mins or when  skewer comes out clean

Pears next…
Heat up all the spices in a deep saucepan big enough to hold your pears. Add the wine and sugar then the raisins. Leave on a low heat till small bubbles appear
Meanwhile peel the pears. Using the peeler peel of the skin whilst turning the pear, leaving a gap. Some of the pear should still have the skin on (white part) and the rest shouldn’t.
Place the pears in the pan of wine and leave to poach. Cover with greaseproof paper

Puree now…
all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook until broken down. You can assist this process by mashing slightly with  fork or potato masher

Chantilly Cream…
Whip the double cream with sugar and vanilla till soft peaks. Leave in fridge till ready to use

the almonds on a greased baking tray
Put sugar in a saucepan on a medium heat. DO NOT STIR. Watch carefully, it will go from sugar to caramel within  few minutes. Usually when you take your eye off it in decides to burn. You can swirl the pan a bit
When the sugar it starts turning to liquid you can flick some of the undissolved sugar onto the liquid.  When it all turns to liquid and a nice amber colour, add the butter, swirl then pour ontop the almonds.
Leave to cool. When cold, using a rolling pin, break up the brittle. Place a medium sized brittle on the side for decor and crush the rest till it looks like crumbs.

Remove the rest of the skin off the pears. Remove the raisins and reduce the wine adding 50g of sugar. Reduce until syrupy

Time to assemble…
– Spread the compote in the middle of the plate. Place cube of cake on top of that.
– Add another small bit of compote next to it and stick the pear on top
– Arrange the wine soaked raisins around the plate
– Top the cake blob of cream and sprinkle the brittle all around the plate and on the cream. Stick the reserved piece of britte in the cream
– Pour the syrup on top of the pears

Phew!!! All done…

Oh So Sweet Baker x


  1. looks amazing! (:

  2. I love the stripes on the pear. Never seen that before. Keep up the good work

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