8-10 small, firm but ripe Beurre Bosc pears
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
750 mls red wine
½ cup cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
1 cinnamon stick
50 grams skin on almonds, crushed
60 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
30 grams butter, melted and cooled
1 egg white
200 grams mascarpone
Pears: Put the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until a good, dark golden caramel.
Remove from the heat and add the wine. Take care as it will spit. Return to the heat and stir until the toffee has melted then bring back to the boil. Add the cassis and the cinnamon stick. Peel the pears and place in the saucepan. Put a plate over the pears to keep them submerged in the wine. Cook gently until tender but not falling apart. Cool and refrigerate the pears in the syrup until required. They will keep for several days.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Crisps: Combine the almonds, sugar, flour and baking powder. Stir in the butter then the egg white. Put teaspoonfuls on a baking tray lined with a Teflon sheet or baking paper, spacing them well apart. Bake for 4-5 minutes. Cool a little before transferring to a rack. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Makes about 20 crisps
To serve: Place 1 pear and some syrup in each serving dish. Place a spoonful of mascarpone alongside and serve with 2-3 crisps.
Cook's Tip: a Teflon baking sheet is a re-useable non-stick sheet that lasts for years and is totally indispensable in the kitchen. Available from cookware stores.