Roast Pears with Olive Oil & Blackcurrant Sauce, Grana Padano & Vanilla Cream, Pinenut Tuile & Basil Sugar
Alex Mackay, cook, teacher, writer and food lover serves up the perfect New Year's Eve dinner party menu for your festive celebrations.
This is a play on a Grana Padano Pesto for your pudding. Basil, cheese, pinenuts and olive oil, the only thing missing is the garlic and I think you'll be grateful for that. Every ingredient plays its part to make this dessert delicious; elegant, gutsy and a great talking point to bring your New Year's Eve to a climax. To make sure you manage to get to midnight with your family, I've made sure that it can all be prepared in advance, even the day before. You can serve the pears and sauce hot, warm, or cold, depending on what state you're in. Happy New Year.
Serves 4; Preparation time: ; Cooking time: ; Difficulty
The Pinenut Tuiles
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Rack position middle shelf.
2. Put the butter, sugar, and glucose into a medium sized pan. Slowly bring to the boil. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, mix in the pinenuts and almonds. Take the pan off the heat.
3. Make 6 (a couple of extras just in case!) well-spaced tablespoon sized piles, 25g each, of the pinenut mixture on a tray lined with non-stick silicone paper. If your tray is a normal oven size of 60cm, you will need to do this in two batches. Flatten the piles of pinenut mixture with the back of a spoon, just a little, as they will spread further as they cook. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 6 minutes until they are pale golden, you may need to turn the tray halfway through if your oven has a hotspot. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of Grana Padano over each tuile. Bake for 2 minutes more, have a look at the colour of the tuile in the photo to see what you are aiming for.
4. Once they are golden all over, remove the tuiles from the oven and leave for 2 minutes to harden. Then, using a thin palette knife, transfer the tuiles to a cooling rack. Once the tuiles are cool store them in an airtight container between layers of greaseproof paper until you need them.
The Roast Pears
5. Turn your oven up to 220°C/Gas 6/Rack position upper middle shelf.
6. Get a baking tray with slightly raised sides that is just large enough to hold the pears in a single layer. Put the pears on it. Toss them with the sugar, olive oil and lemon juice. Turn them all cut side down. Roast for 12-15 minutes or more depending on their ripeness. Once they are cooked, you should be able to pierce them with the tip of a knife like you would a potato. Set aside.
7. Put the blackcurrant jam/conserve into a small saucepan with the water and olive oil. Bring to the boil slowly and stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and leave the sauce to cool. Depending on the jam you use, you may have to add a little more water to liquefy it, the sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
Grana Padano & Vanilla Cream
8. Put the mascarpone, icing sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth. Add the cream and whisk until it is lightly thickened, this mixture will harden so do not overwhip it. Fold in the grated Grana Padano. Refrigerate.
9. In a mortar and pestle or small blender, grind the basil and the sugar until it is a coarse, green, slightly moist powder.
10. Spoon the sauce onto your plates, put 2 pear halves onto each. Spoon the cream to one side. I used a hot ice cream scoop for the photo. Cover half of each tuile with basil sugar. Balance these on the side of the plate so they don't go moist too quickly. Serve and celebrate!