This recipe has all sorts of parts to it which reflect my heritage and what I am about. The rum punch is a gentle nod to my Caribbean Island girl roots and the peaches and pears point to the fact that a huge part of me is quintessentially English.
4 figs, halved or quartered depending on their size
2 ripe pears, quartered, cores removed
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked
1 orange, zest and juice
a handful of hazelnuts
250ml/9fl oz crème fraiche
50g/2oz icing sugar
a grating of nutmeg, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Arrange all of the fruit pieces, cut side up, in a large roasting tin. Drizzle the rum (or apple juice) and scatter the sugar over the fruit.
Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and add half of the pod to the fruit, reserving the other half for later (or add a couple of drops of vanilla extract if preferred).
Snap the cinnamon in half and throw it in with the leaves from the rosemary sprigs. Finely grate the zest of the orange all over the fruits, then halve it and squeeze the juice over also.
Cover the tin tightly with tin foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, removing the foil after 20 minutes (giving the fruit a quick baste with the juices before putting back in).
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan on a medium heat. Bash the hazelnuts up a bit in a mug with the end of a rolling pin (or with a pestle and mortar). Throw them into the dry pan (with no oil) and toast for about 2-3 minutes, tossing them around a bit so they cook evenly. Then remove from the heat and set aside.
Spoon the crème fraîche into a small bowl and sieve the icing sugar over. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the reserved vanilla pod and add them too (or a couple of drops of vanilla extract). Stir everything together to just combine.
Remove the fruit from the oven once cooked. It should be deliciously soft and sticky and the sauce rich and syrupy.
Spoon the fruits out onto warmed serving plates. Dollop some crème fraîche to the side, add a sprinkling of the toasted hazelnuts, finely grate a little nutmeg over the top and serve.
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