This is one way to get everyone to eat their fruit - serve poached pears up to their hips in gorgeous cakey sponge pudding.
4 firm, ripe pears
2 cinnamon sticks
125g self raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
To poach the pears, bring the sugar, water and cinnamon to the boil as you peel the pears. Add the pears, lower the heat and simmer gently until tender when pierced with a skewer, around 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 180C. Lightly butter a one-litre baking dish. Beat the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add half the flour, folding lightly, then half the milk, then remaining flour, then milk until you have a smooth batter that drops easily from a spoon.
Spoon into the baking dish. Drain the pears, and trim the bases flat. Push them firmly into the batter and bake for 40 minutes, or until the pudding is golden brown and set in the middle. Leave for 10 minutes before serving with good cream.