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Fruit as an illusion

This is a lovely dessert, light, refreshing and perfect for the hot summer months. It is also a very simple dessert to make, one that keeps you away from the hot oven.

The pears are quickly poached in white wine syrup, The fruit should be perfect, not to mushy, but just getting soft. The flavour from the wine infuses the fruit and the fennel and cloves add lovely nuances. The light drizzle of lime-scented cream is the perfect accompaniment The chef gives his dishes these creative names, and in this case, it is perfect. The dessert is so light that you enjoy the fruit without realizing you are eating a dessert. I loved how this turned out for its lightness and subtle flavours.

Dinner at the long table is a celebration of food, both beautiful and delicious. Andrew Tarlow established a restaurant empire in New York with a number of very successful establishments. This book looks into those recipes that are meant to be shared and enjoyed in small groups. There are 17 menus built around specific themes, but each recipe is a masterpiece in flavour and presentation. This is a cookbook about technique, flavour and about the presentation of food, but it is also about throwing a party and having fun. Every recipe I have made from here is spectacular, this is a book I will slowly cook through.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.


6-7 green pears, try and pick the ones that are hard

1 bottle of white wine

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed

2-3 whole cloves

A pinch of salt

Zest and juice of 1 lime

For the cream:

1/2 cup light cream

Zest and juice of 1/2 lime

2 tablespoons brandy or whisky (optional)

Peel the pears leaving the stems on. If you prefer you can halve the pears and remove the piths. Add to the wine, sugar, fennel seeds, cloves, and salt and stir well. Add as much water as you need to make sure the pears are submerged or completely in the water.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-12 minutes till the pears are soft when pierced with a skewer. remove the pears from the liquids and continue to gently boil the liquids till it is reduced to about 1/4 the volume and forms a light syrup. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and pour over the pears. The cooked pears can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Make the cream by mixing all the ingredients. I generally do not add sugar to the cream as you have the syrup separately for this dessert.

To serve, bring the dessert up to room temperature if chilled. Serve 1 pear with a few tablespoons of syrup and a light drizzle of cream.

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