These boozy spiced pears make the most deliciously light dessert even with a serious whack of homemade vanilla bean custard.  With hints of cinnamon, clove and star anise the pear literally melts in your mouth and will have your dinner guests groaning with pure delight.  The best part?  This dish can be prepared hours ahead so that all that is required is a gentle reheat.  I am so in love with food.

Prep time:  20 Minutes            Cooking time:  1 Hour              $   Low budget

Serves 4

4 x Beurre Bosc pears ( not too ripe, not too soft), peeled

1 bottle of decent red wine

1/4 cup of caster sugar

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

1 star anise

For the Creme Anglaise:

5 egg yolks

2 cups of cream

1/4 cup of castor sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 and seeds scraped

Pour the wine into a saucepan large enough to hold four pears and add the sugar and spices.  Bring to a simmer, stirring initially so that the sugar dissolves.  Once simmering, stand the pears up if you can but make sure they are full immersed in the liquid.  If not, you will need to gently turn them periodically.  Pop a lid on and allow them to poach for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Keep the lid off and reduce the liquid by about half, turn the heat off and pop the pears back in.  Turn the heat back on and warm gently before serving.

To make the custard, whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until well combined and nice and creamy.  Gently heat the cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan until just below boiling point.  Slowly pour the cream mixture over the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. If the cream is too hot to hold your finger in, allow it to cool for a few minutes before pouring over the eggs, otherwise they will scramble.

Pour the entire mixture into a clean saucepan and heat very gently, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Stir the mixture for approx 5-6 minutes until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.  It is very important to be patient and not rush the process as the eggs can scramble.  Just follow the instructions, sip on your wine and enjoy the process!

Once coating the back of the spoon, remove from the heat and strain into a jug.  Cover the surface with cling wrap, this will stop a skin forming, and set aside.

To serve, stand each pear up in a shallow bowl and spoon over some of the sauce.  Pour on a little (or a lot) of custard and serve.

If you have sauce leftover you can freeze it for later use.  Any leftover custard……be prepared!  Your kids will definitely fight over it!