This elegant dessert has bold flavours that are perfectly paired. It isn’t heavy like some Christmas desserts can be and has a light sweetness.
Makes 4 portions.
60g pecans or hazelnuts
40g ground almonds
A pinch of sea salt
4tsp maple syrup
4tsp cocoa powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
4 ripe pears, peeled
4tbsp vegan cream cheese
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Heat your oven to 180c/390f/GM4.
In a food processor or the chopper attachment of a hand blender, grind the pecans until they are crumbs. Mix in the ground almonds, sea salt, maple syrup and cocoa powder. Place this on a baking tray, bake for 10-12 minutes until it has dried out but do not let it burn. If the crumb has clumped together press it with a fork so it is in small pieces.
Put the water, amaretto, cinnamon stick, star anise and pears in a saucepan with a lid. Boil for 8-15 minutes until the pears are cooked through. Test this by using a sharp knife rather than a fork which will leave an unsightly mark on the pears.
Mix the cream cheese with the vanilla seeds.
To serve, plate the chocolate nut crumb first, add a pear to each plate and spoonful of vanilla cream cheese on the side and drizzle the hot amaretto water on the pear.
Cut the bottom of the pears flat so they will stay upright when plated.
If you want to increase the sweetness in the dish you can serve it with a small pot of maple syrup.