Searching for a light winter dessert to have at a weekend dinner with friends? You've got to try these roast spiced pears with hazelnuts and labne. Roasting the pears gives them a richer flavour, and the generous slug of port with the spices makes for a heavenly combination. Of course a little tipple during cooking doesn't go amiss either.
I love the combination of spicy pears, creamy sweet labne with the crunch of the hazelnuts, and usually serve them with a spicy dessert wine or a port. I've also caught the occasional friend licking their plate and looking to steal a taste from their neighbours plates!
For the labne a little pre planning is required and you should start the prep at least a day in advance, to allow the labne to drain fully and become firm. I also like to play around with different honey flavours to give the labne an interesting taste.
ROAST PEARS WITH CANDIED HAZELNUTS & HONEY LABNE
Adapted from recipe by Delicious Magazine
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups Port
2 cinnamon quills
good pinch of saffron threads
3 cups water
6 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored (stems intact), halved
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted with skins removed
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
250 gm honey labne
Preheat oven to 170°C. Stir the caster sugar, port, cinnamon, saffron and 3 cups water in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.
Arrange the pears in a large baking dish. Pour over the hot port mixture and cover the surface closely with baking paper (cartouche), then cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the pears, cover and bake for a further another 30 minutes or until tender.
Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and cover with foil. Transfer the poaching liquid to a clean saucepan, and rapidly simmer over medium high heat for approx. 20 minutes until syrupy.
Place the prepared hazelnuts on a small baking tray lined with baking paper. Add the caster sugar and water to a small saucepan, and cook over a low heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Do not stir at this stage, but occasionally swirl the saucepan to cook the toffee evenly. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar left. Cook until the toffee mixture is a rich golden colour, then pour over the hazelnuts.
Allow the toffee and hazelnuts to cool, then pulse in a food processor until rough crumbs form.
Place the pears on a serving platter and pour over the poaching syrup. Scatter with candied hazelnuts and serve with the honey labne.
500 gm natural greek style (thick) yoghurt
100 gm honey
Stir yoghurt and honey in a bowl to combine. Transfer to a bowl lined with double layer of muslin, gather up the edges to enclose and tie the top with string. Suspend the yoghurt from a shelf in the refrigerator, placing a bowl underneath to drain for a minimum of 24 hours or until the mixture is firm. Unwrap from the muslin, and store in an airtight container in the refrigeratorfor up to 3 days.
All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2018