Stuffed Pears with Bitter Crème Anglaise

  • Serves

    serves 6

Bitter almonds are hard to find in this country. Apricot kernels, which are not toxic when cooked, make a good substitute.


For the Crème Anglaise

  • 1 12 cups milk
  • 7 tsp. sugar
  • 8 apricot kernels or 4 shelled almonds
  • 3 egg yolks

For the Pears

  • 5 Tbsp. blanched almonds
  • 6 amaretti cookies
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 - 1 tsp. kirsch
  • 3 ripe comice pears, halved lengthwise and cored
  • 2 cups zinfandel


Step 1

For the crème anglaise: Put milk, sugar, and apricot kernels or almonds into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and milk is hot, 6–8 minutes. Lightly whisk egg yolks in a small bowl, then gradually add 1⁄2 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Stir egg–milk mixture back into hot milk mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, 30–35 minutes. Strain sauce through a sieve into a small bowl. Return kernels to sauce, cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until cool, 1–2 hours. Remove and discard kernels before serving.

Step 2

For the pears: Preheat oven to 350°. Spread almonds out on a small baking sheet and bake until fragrant but not browned, 6–7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375°. Using a rolling pin, finely crush amaretti between 2 sheets of parchment paper and set aside. Chop almonds and set aside.

Step 3

Put butter into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 25–30 seconds. Add 1 tbsp. of the sugar while continuing to beat, then add egg yolk and beat until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Beat in cookies, almonds, and kirsch to taste. Stuff each pear half equally with almond butter, transfer to a medium baking dish, cut side up, and set aside. Put 4 tbsp. of the sugar and 2 tbsp. water into a small saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, 2–3 minutes. Stir in wine, then pour syrup around pears. Bake stuffed pears until soft and easily pierced with a sharp knife, 25–35 minutes. If filling browns too quickly, loosely cover with a sheet of heavy-duty foil.

Step 4

Transfer pears to a large plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Strain sweetened wine from baking dish through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Add the remaining sugar and boil over medium-high heat until thick and glossy, 20-25 minutes. Strain wine sauce through a fine-meshed sieve in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 5

To assemble, divide crème anglaise between 6 wide desserts bowls. Put a stuffed pair half into each bowl and spoon some of the wine sauce over filling.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.