What’s for supper? Pear beignets by Maria Elia
Thursday 24 January 2013
Ingredients to serve 4-6
For the poached pears
200g caster sugar
1 bay leaf
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
1 whole unwaxed lemon
4 pears, peeled and cored
For the batter
150g plain flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1 large egg
250ml lager or ale
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the pear crème anglaise
100ml single cream
2 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
For the rosemary sugar
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves, dried, leaves stripped
75g caster sugar
Prepare the poaching liquid before the pears as they discolour. Place the sugar, 150ml water, bay leaf, vanilla seeds and pod, bay leaf and the juice and zest of the lemon in a saucepan over a low heat and bring to the boil for 2 minutes.
Cut each pear into 3–4 vertical slices about 1cm thick and add to the cooking liquor. Place a circle of greaseproof paper (a cartouche) on the top and poach until just tender (about 5–7 minutes). Remove the pears from the liquor and leave to cool and drain on a rack or cloth.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt and the egg. Whisk together and gradually add the lager or ale. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
To make the rosemary sugar, blitz the rosemary and sugar in a blender. Heat the oil to 175°C. Working in batches, dip a few slices of poached pear into the batter, then carefully drop them into the oil. Fry until golden on both sides (about 4 minutes). Drain the pear beignets on absorbent paper and dust with rosemary sugar.
To make the pear crème anglaise, place the poaching syrup from the pears, the milk and the cream in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then gradually pour this back into the hot milk. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens. Do not boil or the custard will curdle. Once thickened, pass the custard through a fine sieve and serve with the pears.
Taken from ‘Full of Flavour’ by Maria Elia. (Kyle Books, £19.99). Photograph by Jonathan Gregson
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