White Wine Poached Pears with Shortbread and Butterscotch Cream
Chef Joe at Makweti Safari Lodge shares with you his recipe for poached pears with shortbread and butterscotch cream.
6 pears, peeled and cored (from the base)
250ml white wine (sweet or dry)
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, split)
140ml thick cream (35 per cent)
130g light brown sugar
40g unsalted butter
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
75g powder sugar
2 egg yolks
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature and softened
100g flour, sieved
5g baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
Method In a big pan, combine the water, wine, sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a gentle simmer while stirring. Place the pears in the poaching liquid and cover with a circle of baking paper (with a hole in the center – to let the steam escape) that fits snugly over the fruits. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
To make the butterscotch cream, in a medium saucepan, add the cream, sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are well-combined and the sugar has dissolved. Over medium to high heat, bring to a light boil.
Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a bit (it should coat the back of a spoon). Remove from the heat and let cool until lukewarm or completely.
If you want your butterscotch sauce to have a stronger flavour, replace the light brown sugar with dark brown. To add a little kick to your sauce, use salted butter instead of unsalted butter or incorporate 1-2 tablespoons whisky and add a pinch sea salt to the finished sauce and mix well.
For the bretons, with a hand whisk (electric mixer will not work), beat the sugar together with the yolks, until the mixture is foamy, pale yellow and falls from the beater in a ribbon. Add the softened butter and whisk in order to obtain a smooth mixture. Use a spatula to incorporate the flour and baking powder and salt (the mixture should be homogenous and resemble a paste). Roughly flatten the dough to a thickness of 1/2 cm (0.2 inches) and refrigerate for several hours in Gladwrap (at least 2 hours).
Cut out 8 rounds of pastry using 7cm (2.8 inches) non-buttered/greased stainless steel rings. Place each pastry round on a baking tray covered with baking paper at 170°C for about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack and then carefully lift.
Put one shortbread on each plate, then place a drained pear on top of it and drizzle with lukewarm butterscotch sauce.
Wine suggestion Graham Beck Rhona Muscadel
Find more recipes in the September issue of Country Life, where Johannes Maredi cooks up some seriously elegant dishes on the fire in the boma.