Eugene von Guerard 'Lake Wakatipu with Mount Earnslaw, Middle Island, New Zealand 1877–79 (detail) oil on canvas Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1971
Issue 159 | June 2012
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09 Eat artStephanie Alexander's recipe for Braised Pears with Australian Lemon Myrtle Leaves inspired by George Baldessin's Pear - version number 2 1973

image: Alan Benson

 

Braised Pears with Australian Lemon Myrtle Leaves 

Serves 2

2 large firm pears
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
3 lemon myrtle leaves or dried bay leaves
250 ml Amarone or other full-bodied red wine

Peel the pears, cut each into halves lengthwise and remove the core, leaving the stem attached. Select a pan with a lid that will accommodate all the pear halves lying flat. There should be no overlapping, nor should the pan be too large so that the butter burns. Heat the pan to medium hot, add the butter and melt. Just as the foam subsides, place in the pears cut side down. Brown lightly, turn and brown the other side. Scatter the sugar over the pears. Add the leaves and gradually pour the wine over all.
Cover the pan, leaving the lid a little askew, and turn down the heat to medium low. Cook, turning the pears from time to time, until they are tender. The syrup created may need to be reduced, or if the heat is too high it may need the addition of a little water. When the dish is finished, the juices should be dense and deep-coloured.

Spoon the juices over the pears and, after they have cooled a little, serve with thick cream.
Do no refrigerate.

'Braised Pears with Australian Lemon Myrtle Leaves' first published in The Cooks Companion, Penguin Australia, 1998

Queen of Nuts Cake

Unsalted butter
¼ cup fine breadcrumbs
200g best quality dark chocolate, grated
150g caster sugar
150g blanched almonds, finely chopped
30g candied citron or peel, finely cut
5 egg yolks lightly beaten with a few drops of pure vanilla
5 egg whites

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Melt the butter and liberally grease a circular springform tin 22 cm in diameter and 5 cm deep. Coat the buttered sides of the tin with breadcrumbs and line base with cooking parchment.

Mix the chocolate, sugar, almonds and citron. Stir in the egg yolks with vanilla. Beat the whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the mixture. Carefully transfer to the tin and bake at 160 degrees C for 35 minutes, until firm. Cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn out carefully. Allow to cool before cutting with a hot knife. This cake keeps well for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.