Poached pear brioche with vanilla crème anglaise
For the brioche
- 125g/5oz strong bread flour
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp fresh yeast
- ¼ tsp salt
- 25ml/1fl oz milk
- 1 free-range egg
- 65g/2oz butter, softened
- 75g/2½oz white marzipan
For the pear
For the crème anglaise
For the brioche, place the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, milk and egg together in a bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes, or until well combined. Add the softened butter and beat until the mixture comes together to form a soft, smooth dough. Place the dough into a clean bowl and leave to rise in a warm, dry place for one hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured work surface for 1-2 minutes, then shape into four golf ball-sized balls. Place onto a baking parchment-lined baking tray.
Roll the marzipan out to a 3-5mm thick slab, then cut out four discs, each slightly smaller than the diameter of the brioche balls. Place the discs on top of the brioche balls to loosely cover, then leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
For the pears, preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.
Peel the lemon and place the zest into a saucepan. Remove any pith from the lemon and squeeze the juice into the saucepan. Add the squeezed lemon to the pan.
Add the pears to the saucepan, plus 150g/5oz of the sugar, the vanilla pod and seeds. Add enough water to just cover the pears. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Remove the pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Allow to cool.
Place a pear on top of each brioche ball, pressing down slightly. Place into the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the brioche is golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Heat a frying pan until hot, add the remaining sugar and 50ml/2fl oz of water and cook until a light caramel forms. Drizzle the caramel over the pears.
For the crème anglaise, place the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat.
Place the egg yolks and caster sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. Pour a dash of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine, then slowly pour in the rest of the milk, whisking all the while. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stirring frequently, cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is just thickened (but not as thick as English custard).
To serve, place one pear brioche onto each serving plate and spoon the crème anglaise alongside.