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Baked pears with dates and orange rind served with English custard

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Baked pears with dates and orange rind served with English custard

Fruit is a great family favourite to finish the evening meal, and the juicy stuffed pears pictured fit the bill. If you do not wish to use dates, replace them with a little ready-made mincemeat, or chopped dried apricots, figs or sultanas.


  • 4 medium-sized pears (Buerra Bosc are wonderful)
  • about 10 stoned dates (fresh, if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • grated rind 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup water or cider

English custard

  • 2 cups full cream milk
  • 1 vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar


  1. Wipe the pears and core. Cut the stem about 1cm down from the top and put aside. Discard the remaining core. Take a sharp paring knife and score right around the centre of the pear at its widest girth. This will stop the skin from splitting.
  2. Finely chop the dates and blend with the softened butter, orange rind and sugar. Use this to fill the centres.
  3. Rub the pears with butter and stand in an ovenproof baking dish. Pour in the water or cider.
  4. Bake at 190ºC for around 45 minutes until the pears are tender when pierced with a skewer. Serve hot with English Custard and whipped cream.

English custard

  1. Heat the milk, with the vanilla pod, until it reaches boiling point. Stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In the top of a double boiler, put the egg yolks and sugar and mix well. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
  3. Cook the custard over simmering water, stirring all the time, until it has thickened. Cool. Remove the vanilla pod, wash in warm water, dry and store for re-use.


  1. You can cook the custard in the microwave, but you have to be careful not to overcook and curdle it. Heat the milk and vanilla pod or essence in the microwave until very hot. Pour over the beaten egg yolks and sugar, whisking quickly, then return and cook on 50% power for about 5 minutes, stirring every 45-60 seconds until thickened. The cooking time will depend on the wattage of your microwave.

Cooks Tips

- For the filling, use marzipan and cook the pears in half-water and half-sweet white wine. - Use apple or nashi in place of pears.

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