Poached Pear Crumble With Chocolate, Coffee and Nuts and Some News

Note: My latest post was eaten up by Blogger as well as your lovely comments πŸ™ So here it is again.

The night lights appeared as tiny jewels twinkling outside, Akber was laying on the couch with heavy eyelids. Maryam was breathing rhythmically, curled up in the fetal position and clutching her blanket- fast asleep for the past three hours.

It was past 10pm and I had a very sudden and urgent need to bake. You know the type where a new recipe invades your mind- it won’t let go, your heart buzzes with anticipation. Should I add one or two tablespoons of coffee powder? Will almonds pair better with the pears or perhaps hazelnuts? No I think hazel nuts….or wait. Maybe both. Should I serve it with cold custard or hazel nut ice cream?

Since starting a blog, I have had many such urges- urges to check my email at odd hours, urges to chat to my Twitter friends, urges to take photographs before the sun sets, before hungry souls demolish it. Most times I enjoy the exhilaration but every once in a while, the influx of technology as well as the obsessive trait in my personality can become overwhelming.

However, when the urge to bake at odd and unusual hours results in a beautiful recipe like this poached pear in a coffee, chocolate and hazel nut crumble, I’m not complaining. The idea for this recipe came form a cozy dinner I had a few months ago at a restaurant here in Dubai. They served this in a mini tartelet with chopped pears at the bottom buried in a nutty crumble with delicate hints of dark chocolate and coffee- a match made in heaven.

I remember very slowly eating my way through this dessert, savoring each single bite, trying to decipher the flavors and ingredients. With each mouthful, a new flavor unraveled, a new experience for the palette, a discovery of a new ingredient. I had a twinkle in my eye on the way home, one that always makes Akber weary. He knows what follows- a midnight baking compulsion.

I am ever so pleased to share with you some very exciting news. A few months ago, Sally of Aquarius Magazine asked whether I’d like to shoot and style a 2 page recipe spread for their May issue. After her phone call, my initial reaction was disbelief. Then I screamed my way around the house before calmly calling Akber and my parents.

This pear crumble was one of the recipes featured along with cherry tea cakes, apple tarts and raspberry pancakes. Thank you Aquarius for giving me such a fantastic opportunity so early in my career. I look forward to working with them again very soon so watch this space!

Lastly, I’d like to also let you know that this is the last post where you will see the polka dots on the sidebars and the Lick My Spoon banner at the top. For my next post (which also marks 50 posts for me), I will be changing the whole look of the website along with a new name. I’m very excited for the unveiling and really hope you like the new look too.

Poached Pear Crumble with Chocolate, Coffee and Hazel Nuts

1 Β½ cup all purpose flour
ΒΎ cup sugar
120 gms butter, room temperature
120 gms dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbs cocoa powder
4 tbs coffee powder
Β½ cup hazel nuts, chopped
5 pears
mixture of whole spices such as 1 cinnamon, 1 star anise and 3 cloves

Directions:Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Peel the pears but leave the stalks intact. Put the pears into a pan with 1 tbs coffee and your spice mixture. Add enough water so that they are fully immersed. Boil on medium heat until a skewer can easily pierce the pears (about 30 minutes). Set the pears aside on a cooling rack.

Mix all the rest of the ingredients together so that it resembles breadcrumbs. Take 5 ramekins and place a poached pear into each one. Fill the ramekins all the way to the top with the crumble mixture. Pat down gently. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Serve immediately with hazel nut ice cream.

Makes 5 pear crumbles.

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