Pear Conde

One of the great classic French desserts, Pear Conde is a delectable mixture pears, rice, eggs and brandy. Serve it cold as a magnificent end to a special dinnerparty meal.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 oz. round-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

½ pints milk

10 oz. sugar

1 oz. butter

4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 lb. firm pears, peeled, halved and cored

8 fl. oz. water

1 tablespoons brandy glace cherries, halved

Preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150 ;C). Lightly grease a 2-pint souffle dish with the oil. Set aside.

Place the rice in a large flameproof casserole and add the milk, 2 ounces of the sugar, the butter, salt and vanilla essence. Place the casserole over moderate heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly.

Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the casserole from the oven.

Stir the egg yolks into the rice mixture and place the casserole over low heat. Cook gently, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove the casserole from the heat and set it aside to cool.

With a sharp knife, cut about one-quarter of the pear halves into thin slices. Set aside.

When the rice mixture is cool, spoon about one-third of it into the souffle dish. Place half the pear slices on top.

Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of the rice mixture. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or until the rice mixture is firm.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, dissolve the remaining sugar in the water over mod- eggs – – crate heat, stirring constantly. Add the remaining pear halves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove half of the pear halves from the pan and set them aside.

Puree the remaining pear halves with the syrup in a strainer or electric blender. Return the puree to the saucepan. Return the pan to high heat. Boil the sauce for 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brandy. Pour the sauce into a bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature. Then place it in the refrig-erator to chill for 30 minutes.

Remove the souffle dish from the refrigerator. Remove the aluminium foil. Place a serving dish, inverted, over the souffle dish and reverse the two. The pudding should slide out easily. Arrange the reserved pear halves on the top and around the sides. Decorate with the cherries. Serve the sauce separately.

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