You will need
For the poached pears:
6 perfectly ripe pears
625 g caster sugar
1.5 litres water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
For the chocolate sauce:
240 g best-quality dark chocolate
155 ml milk
50 ml thickened cream
30 g honey
50 g butter, cubed
1. For the poached pears, combine the sugar and water in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
2. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the pan when the sugar has dissolved. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup, then refrigerate until chilled.
3. For the chocolate sauce, finely chop or grate the chocolate and put in a bowl. Bring the milk and cream to the boil with the honey. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny. Add the butter, bit by bit, stirring until combined. Refrigerate
the chocolate sauce until firmly set.
4. Now put the chocolate sauce into a piping bag fitted with a one and a half plain-nozzle. Line a small tray with baking paper. Pipe the chocolate sauce into lines about 10 centimetre long. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until hard enough to cut into five centimetre lengths. Return to the freezer until needed.
5. To make the chocolate biscuit, cut six strips of baking paper measuring seven centimetres by five centimetres. Spray the inside of six four and a half centimetre diameter dessert rings with cooking oil and line each with a strip of paper so that the paper forms a collar above the ring. Spray again and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
6. Finely chop or grate the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let more than half of the chocolate melt before you give it a stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. When the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir to combine and keep warm.
7. Sift together the almond meal and rice flour. Whisk the egg white until holding soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until shiny and holding firm peaks.
8. Place the egg yolk in a large bowl. Add one-quarter of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add this mixture to the chocolate mixture along with the dry ingredients. Thoroughly fold through, then fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
9. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a one and a half centimetre plain nozzle. Pipe the mixture two thirds of the way up the prepared rings.
10. Remove the five centimetre lengths of chocolate sauce from the freezer and insert one into each chocolate cylinder, taking care not to touch the base. Pipe in more mixture to fill each cylinder. Freeze for at least three hours.
11. Remove the cylinders from the freezer one hour before serving, but keep in the fridge.
12. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Place the cylinders in the middle of the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes before unmoulding.
Recipe, PS Desserts by Philippa Sibley (Hardie Grant Books)
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