Baked Pears with Chocolate and Dates

, from Issue #43. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Baked Pears with Chocolate and Dates

When diners open their individual parcels the aromas of spice, lemon and chocolate turn a simple dessert into something very special.

Serves: 4


4 firm but ripe pears, I used Taylors Gold
4 squares of dark chocolate
4 dried dates

zest and juice 1 lemon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup white wine
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

To cook
4 slices lemon
4 x 30 cm squares baking paper
kitchen string


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Syrup: Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Pears: Core the pears from the bottom, leaving the stem end intact, then peel. Place one piece of chocolate then a date in the cavity of each pear. Put one slice of lemon in the centre of each piece of paper. Place the pears on top of the lemon slices and fold up the edges of each paper parcel. Spoon the syrup over the pears including the lemon zest. Bring the paper together above the stem and tie with kitchen string.

Place the parcels in a baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the pears are tender.

To serve: Transfer the parcels to individual bowls. Let each diner untie the string and gently slide out the pears and syrup, discarding the paper. Serve with a bowl of softly whipped cream.