Warm pears, melting chocolate and buttery croissants make these small versions of a classic bread and butter pudding perfect for a chilly winter weekend morning or afternoon tea. Serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream if total indulgence is called for.
7 medium, firm but ripe pears (I used Beurre Bosc)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup caster sugar
100 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup finely chopped, roasted hazelnuts
a 12 hole, ½ cup-capacity muffin tin, greased and holes lined with baking paper. Bring the paper above the sides of the tin to contain the liquids.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
Halve the pears and scoop out the cores with a teaspoon. Cut each half into ½ cm thick slices. Melt the butter and sugar in a large sauté pan and cook the pears in batches until just tender but not falling apart, transferring them to a plate as they are cooked.
Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar in a large jug.
Cut each croissant into 1 cm thick slices.
Sandwich 4 slices of croissant with 3 slices of pear, sprinkling each layer with a little chocolate and hazelnuts. If needed, gently squeeze together to fit them into the paper cases.
Carefully pour some of the custard over the top of each cake then add more as it soaks into the croissant.
Bake for 15–20 minutes until puffed and golden and the custard is set in the centre.
Cool in the tins for a minimum of 30 minutes. The cakes are delicious served just warm or at room temperature on the day of making. Makes 12