• 1 vanilla pod
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 4 firm but ripe pears, peeled, with stalk still attached
  • vanilla ice cream, optional

For the cardamom chocolate sauce:

  • 200 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed


  1. 1

    Pour 1.5 litres of cold water into a medium pan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the water with the sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and place a piece of baking paper on top to keep them submerged, then simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  2. 2

    Insert a skewer or small sharp knife into the pears to test whether they're tender. If not, simmer for a further 5 minutes. When the pears are cooked, leave them to cool in the syrup for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight, to give them time to take on the flavour of the vanilla.

  3. 3

    To make the sauce, put the chocolate in a bowl. In a pan, bring the cream to the boil with the crushed cardamom seeds, then pour it over the chocolate. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes until the chocolate has melted, then stir the sauce gently until smooth. Do not over mix or the sauce may split – the cocoa solids will separate from the cocoa butter.

  4. 4

    To serve, remove the pears from the syrup and stand them upright on individual plates. Pour a generous helping of chocolate sauce over them and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.


    Get ahead: you can prepare the pears up to 2 days in advance and store in the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge. Make the sauce up to a few hours ahead and reheat gently in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.


    Kitchen secret: keep the leftover sugar syrup in the fridge to use as a base for fruit salads or cocktails.

Recipe adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Michael Joseph, £20)

Nutritional Details

Each serving provides
  • Energy 2215kj 529kcal 26%
  • Fat 35.6g 51%
  • Saturates 22.2g 111%
  • Sugars 41.3g 46%
  • Salt 0.01g <1%

% of the Reference Intakes

Typical values per 100g: Energy 1013kj/242kcal

Each serving provides

43.1g carbohydrate 9.5g fibre 4.5g protein

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