Poached pear, mascarpone and dessert wine cake

Poached pear, mascarpone AND DESSERT WINE CAKE



1.Peel pears, leaving stalks intact, then halve. Split vanilla bean in half lengthways; scrape seeds. Add seeds and bean to a large saucepan with sugar, wine and the water; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 1 minute. Add pears; cover pears with a round of baking paper and a small plate to keep pears submerged. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Cool.
2.Beat mascarpone, cream, egg yolks and icing sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in grated chocolate. Cover; refrigerate until needed. Line a 7.5cm deep, 10cm x 23cm loaf pan with plastic wrap, extending wrap over the sides.
3.Cut 2 pears into 1cm slices. Combine 2 cups of the pear poaching liquid with brandy in a large bowl. Dip both sides of 8 or 9 biscuits, one at a time, into poaching liquid; place biscuits crossways into base of pan, trimming to fit if necessary. Spread 1 1/2 cups mascarpone mixture over biscuits; top with sliced pears, overlapping slightly. Spread a 5mm layer of mascarpone mixture over pear layer. Dip 10 biscuits into poaching liquid; place length-ways on mascarpone layer, trimming to fit if necessary (changing the direction helps the biscuits fit into a loaf pan with slopping sides). Spread remaining mascarpone mixture over biscuits; finish layering with another 10 dipped biscuits. Tap pan lightly onto work surface to settle mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.
4.Meanwhile, simmer 1 cup of the poaching liquid and the vanilla bean in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool; refrigerate until needed.
5.To serve, turn cake out of pan onto a platter; remove plastic wrap. Place half the pears and vanilla bean on top of cake; drizzle with thickened syrup. Serve cake with remaining pears.

We used moscato, a low alcohol, lightly sparkling Italian wine. To line the pan smoothly with plastic wrap, dampen it first. This recipe needs to be prepared a day ahead. Decorate close to serving.


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