Saffron and orange blossom poached pears, gingerbread biscuits and chocolate sauce.
- 6 comice pears, peeled
- 600g water
- 260g xylitol or 200g rice syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
- 2 star anise
- 5 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Put all the ingredients, except the pear, into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
- While this is simmering peel the pears.
- You can either cut them in half or leave them whole. If halving, use a teaspoon to carefully core the seeds which can be discarded.
- Place the pears into the poaching liquid and cover with a piece of paper that fully covers the liquid and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Once simmering, cook for 5 minutes longer, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least 2 hours or longer.
Walnut Ricotta Cheese
- 250grammes cashew nuts (soaked for at least 4 hours)
- 250grammes walnuts (soaked for at least 4 hours)
- 250grammes water
- 1 capsule of strong probiotic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Blend the soaked cashews until creamy then add the probiotic. Leave covered in the container to ferment for 4 to 6 hours at room temperature (optional).
- At this stage you can peel the walnuts if you prefer
- Finely chop the soaked walnuts and add to the nut mix. Season with salt.
- You can keep the cheese for up to week in the fridge.
German Gingerbread Biscuits
Makes 30 small biscuits (because it’s always good to have lots of biscuits at Christmas)
- 250g plain flour
- 85g ground almonds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (ground coriander, clove, nutmeg, black pepper)
- 200ml golden syrup (naughty!)
- 50ml vegan soya margarine
- Dark chocolate drops
- 1 lemon zest
- Mix the dry ingredients together, the flour, almonds, ginger, baking powder, and the mixed spices.
- Heat the golden syrup, margarine and lemon zest together until melted.
- Pour this onto the dried ingredients and mix well. The mixture will be very soft, so chill for 2 hours before using.
- Pre-heat oven to 175C.
- Roll into small balls then push a chocolate drop or two into the middle of each one, and place them onto a baking tray.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes at 175C (non-fan). Lightly bake to a just golden colour all over. Cool slightly before glazing.
- 1 bar of dairy-free chocolate at least 55% cocoa
- Boil water in a pan.
- Break the chocolate into chunks.
- Add to a Pyrex bowl and stand the bowl on top of the pan with the boiling water in. Leave here until the chocolate has melted.
- Shape the cheese into a circle – 2 cm wider than the poached pear.
- Place the poached pear onto of the cheese circle.
- Add a biscuit – or two to the plate.
- Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the pear.
Chef Anton Petrov for Made In Hackney
Photography by Chelsea Bloxsome