It’s so easy to fall in love with this dessert. First it seduces thru the bright aroma of orange zest, then the sweet pear slices and silky custard will have you absolutely swooning in delight.
I have a soft spot for fruit-based puddings, so the tempting combination of buerre bosc pears and plump, rich prunes was irresistible. Buerre boscs are fast becoming one of my favourite fruit, with their good keeping quality, rustic appearance and juicy sweetness – they’re how pears should be. And prunes are always on my favourites list.
I also fell for how easy this clafoutis-like dessert is to pull together. Especially if you forget to follow the recipe! Allow me to explain: a little forward planning was required – soaking the prunes in brandy. If (like my mum) you remember to do this, you’ll get the lovely warm brandy flavour coming through. If (like me) you forget to read the recipe, don’t fret – you’ll still have a wonderful dessert.
In fact, I’ll probably omit the brandy-soaking next time (as much as I love a boozy prune). That way, it’s an effortless, elegant dessert you can pull together in a heartbeat. Slice the pears, scatter the fruit in a flan dish, whisk up the custard and pop in the oven. Done! I really am in love with this one.
Pear and prune baked custard
Adapted from an Annabel Langbein recipe. Talking of love, I have a bit of a girl crush on Annabel. I want her beautiful vegie garden, her heaven-on-earth patch of the world, the basket she collects her flowers and produce in, and the tea cup she measures her flour out with. Sigh.
Speaking of sighs, are you listening to the Classic FM Classic 100 Countdown this weekend? Some very sad music as I type this.
- First some do-ahead prep: Soak ¾ cup pitted prunes in a generous slosh of brandy (or your favourite liquor) for a few hours. Or not.
- When you’re ready to start baking, butter a 23 cm ceramic pie dish, and preheat your oven to 180.
- Take two pears and halve, core (I have recently discovered a melon baller is the perfect size for capturing the seeds and leaving a gorgeous circular silhouette), then cut them into slices about 5mm thick (I left the skin on). Scatter over the pie dish, then scatter over the prunes.
- Take one orange and zest it over the fruit.
- To make the custard, whisk together 4 eggs, 3 tbspns vanilla sugar, 2 cups milk and 3 tbspns plain flour, making sure there are no lumps.
- Pour over the fruit then carefully transfer to your oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and lightly golden.
- Serve warm or cold (cold baked custard has its appeal!).