RA GFS Mulled Port Pears with Port Jelly

Method

I love how some old-fashioned cookery terms find their way into our everyday language today. One example of this is the phrase to 'mull things over', meaning to slowly think and consider an idea or thought. This is most likely derived from the very slow and deliberate process of infusing juices, brandies or wines with spices over a low heat.

In this recipe, pears are poached in a sweet port syrup infused with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. The poaching liquid is then given another star turn and set with gelatine to make a truly festive feast.

Method

  1. Place the port, 225ml (8fl oz) water, the sugar, spices and orange rind in a saucepan that will just fit the pears. Place on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the pears neatly in the saucepan with the port syrup. Cover with a disc of baking parchment and a lid, then simmer for
  2. 20 minutes. Turn over the pears, then cook for a further 20-30 minutes until the pears are soft.
  3. Remove the pears and strain the juices into a measuring jug. Add enough water to make up to 475ml (16fl oz). Pour 75ml (3fl oz) of this liquid back over the pears and keep aside in the saucepan, then set aside.
  4. Place two sheets of gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 3-5 minutes to soften, then remove from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Add the softened gelatine sheets to the warm syrup, stirring to dissolve. If the syrup has cooled too much, the gelatine will not dissolve, in which case, heat the syrup again.
  5. Divide the liquid into six small glasses or moulds lined with cling film and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours until set.
  6. To serve, warm the pears gently in the syrup, then turn out the jellies onto plates, place a warm pear on the side and drizzle over some of the syrup. Serve with softly whipped cream. These are just as delicious cold.

Ingredients

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 6

  • 225ml (8fl oz) port

  • 225g (8oz) caster or granulated sugar

  • 7 green cardamom pods, bashed

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 star anise

  • 2 strips of orange rind (removed with a peeler)

  • 6 pears, peeled

  • 2 sheets of gelatine