An ideal dinner-party dessert, this dish looks impressive but couldn't be easier to make. And it can all be done ahead of time. The poached pears will keep in their syrup in the fridge for up to a week. Try them at breakfast time.
For the pears
350g castor sugar
2 slices lemon
400ml white wine
6 beurre bosc pears, peeled and cored, but with stalks intact
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
pure icing sugar, for dusting
good-quality vanilla ice-cream, to serve
For the stuffing
4 tbsp sherry
6 prunes, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp currants
100g good-quality dark chocolate, melted
10g toasted flaked almonds
4 pieces glace ginger, chopped
For the pears: Combine the sugar, lemon, water and white wine in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Add the pears, reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer, turning the pears occasionally, for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove the pears and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
For the stuffing: To make the stuffing, heat the sherry in a small saucepan. When hot, add the prunes and currants. Stir, remove from the heat and set aside to soak for 15-20 minutes. Strain.
Combine the melted chocolate, almonds, ginger and prune mixture, then set aside until cool.
To assemble: Cut the rough shape of three pears from each pastry sheet, with an extra 3cm all round. Spread 1 tablespoon of stuffing on each pastry pear and sit the pears on top.
Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 14 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream.