Walnut shortbread pears, strawberry and raspberry semifreddo and white wine and ginger poached pears

Oh I had such fun cooking dessert for everyone at my dinner party! I tried three new things, and they all worked which was amazing! Now I’m not much of an ice cream person, owing to my extremely sensitive teeth, but I have found that this ice cream is worth it. It’s a semifreddo which means half frozen in Italian. Basically this means you serve it halfway between frozen and mousse, when it has the most beautiful texture! The little walnut pears were great fun to make! In the end I made 12, and only half looked like pears, but I imagine with practice the percentage will rise. I mean, it’s not like I’ve attempted to shape a pear out of dough before! I thought the little cloves as the pear stem was inspired and the walnut added both texture and beautiful flavour! The poached pears I made up as I went. I’ve done similar things before with red wine so I figured I’d just throw them in and see how they went. They did indeed go well! It was wonderful to have the three very different desserts on the plate and I think they all looked and tasted smashing!

Strawberry and Raspberry Semifreddo- Adapted from ABC’s Delicious magazine May 2003

Ingredients:

  • 250g fresh strawberries
  • 250g frozen raspberries
  • 100g icing sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 310ml thickened cream

Method:

  1. Add the strawberries, raspberries and lemon juice to a food processer and sift in the icing sugar.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the cream and fold into the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish (I used a baking tray) and place in the freezer.
  5. When the edges have started to freeze, remove and beat with electric beaters.
  6. Repeat step 5 around 4 times over a 4 hour period.
  7. Remove from freezer before serving to thaw slightly. If fully frozen, this will be around 20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

I’m sure all manner of fruits and flavours could be used and I plan to try a few in the future. Including a vanilla icecream to try Jamie Oliver’s toppings of olive oil and sea salt!

Walnut Shortbread PearsFrom Gourmet Traveller December 2000

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 20ml water
  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 60g walnuts roasted and finely chopped
  • cloves

Method:

  1. Use an electric beater to beat butter and icing sugar until just combined
  2. add vanilla, egg yolk and water and beat until just combined
  3. On low speed, gradually beat in ombined sifted flour andbaking powder and walknuts until mixture just comes together
  4. Form pear shapes with a small piece of dough and place 6cm apart on a baking tray. Holding the stem, press a clove into the top of each shortbread.
  5. Cover and refridgerate for 30mins.
  6. Bake at 18- degrees for 20mins or until golden.
  7. Cool and enjoy!

As I said, half of mine looked kinda like someone had stepped on them, the other half like miniature pears so I guess practice makes perfect! Remember that they will sink as they cook so shape accordingly.

White Wine and Ginger Poached Pears

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • tbsp ground ginger (if I had fresh it would have been much better!)
  • 3 pears (choose ones with a nice shape and no blemishes)

Method:

  1. Peel the pears, cut them in half longways and remove the core.
  2. Add the pears and remaining ingredients to a small covered saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 15mins or until the pears are soft.
  4. Enjoy!

I really love making food for people and I had such fun cooking these delicious things up! Please feel free to invite yourself over for dinner and I’ll cook you up a storm!

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