Pears stuffed with spiced raisins, ginger and pine kernels make a delicious pudding. This recipe is adapted from one by jane Grigson.
2 tablespoons walnut oil 75 g (3 oz) raisins, chopped 40 g (1 A oz) preserved ginger in syrup, finely chopped 100 g (4 oz) pine kernels, lightly toasted 2-3 tablespoons acacia honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 large ripe but firm pears
175 ml (6 fl oz) dry cider
2 tablespoons syrup from the preserved ginger lightly whipped cream or creme fraiche, to serve
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°C, 375°F). Butter a loose-bottomed 23-cm (9-in) cake tin, then dust with flour. Place the chocolate, coffee and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a bowl and add 185 g (6K oz) caster sugar. Whisk over a bowl of hot water until the mixture is thick, pale and trebled in volume. Remove from the heat and whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Set aside. Whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape. Gradually whisk in the remaining sugar until thick and glossy. Fold a little of this mixture into the cake batter to slacken it, then fold in the rest.
Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for around 50 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then drizzle over the Amaretto. Carefully loosen the edges of the cake and transfer it to a serving plate. Dust with a little sifted cocoa powder, then dust generously with sifted icing sugar. Decorate with black cherries before serving with lightly whipped cream or creme fraiche. Serves 8-10.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 (200°C, 400°F). Using the walnut oil, grease an ovenproof dish that is just large enough to hold the pears snugly. In a bowl, mix together the raisins, preserved ginger, pine kernels, honey and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks in place. Make a lid for each one by cutting off a section one third of the way down. Using a small melon bailer or teaspoon, scoop out and discard the core and pips from each fruit. Also scoop out and discard a piece from inside each lid to make room for the stuffing. Stuff the pears with the spiced raisin and nut mixture and place the fruit in the baking dish, covering each pear with its lid. Mix together the cider and ginger syrup and spoon the mixture over the pears.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until the pears are soft when tested with a skewer around 40-45 minutes, depending on ripeness and the type of fruit used.