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Pears in Malmsey Madeira

ingredients

serves: 6
300 ml (10 fl oz) Malmsey Madeira or dark cream sherry
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
rind of 2 lemons, pared
1 vanilla pod,split
firm underripe pears 6

method

1. Pour the Malmsey Madeira and 150 ml (5 fl oz) of water into a pan and add the caster sugar, lemon rind and vanilla pod. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and then boil for 3 minutes. Set aside.

2. Decorate the pears by using a canelle knife to etch spirals or stripes into the skin of the fruit, retaining the stalks.

3. Stand the pears in the smallest pan that will take them. Pour the syrup over the top and tuck the lemon rind and vanilla pods among them. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for anything between 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the ripeness of the pears, until tender.

4. Lift the pears out of the syrup and set aside. Boil the syrup until reduced by half, then strain over the pears. Serve at room temperature.

Freezing: Complete the recipe, then pack and freeze.
To use: Thaw at cool room temperature overnight.

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