Food writer Megan Melling has prepared a very special and festive Christmas dinner menu for our readers. She has already presented us with the starter (Spinach and Sheep Cheese Pastries) and main course (Codfish with broa and alheira). This week, she cooked a mouth-watering dessert that few of us can resist.
Mulled wine pear crumble
Making a festive crumble seemed to be the key dessert this season. In fact, to make it even cosier, this version has a twist by using a mulled wine syrup that covers the pears, like the typical pêra bêbeda.
1/2 kg pêra rocha
250 ml red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
3 cardamom pods
30 grams honey
20 grams dark brown sugar
Peel of one orange
200 grams all-purpose flour
50 grams rye oats
70 grams regular oats
40 grams sliced almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla aroma (paste or seeds from the bean is best)
125 grams caster sugar
10 grams honey
175 grams salted butter
Core the pears and cut into cubes, skin on or off, it is up to you. Set aside.
Gather the remaining ingredients for the filling and reduce in a pan, the stove on medium, until the mulled wine becomes a light syrup. Mix with the pears and let set for at least half an hour, stirring once in a while to recoat the fruit with the syrup.
For the crumble, make sure to use cold butter. Gather the dry ingredients, plus the honey, and incorporate the butter in cubes with the tips of your fingers. If you choose to use a food processor, make sure to add in the oats and almonds after, as it will reduce it to crumbs, and the coarse texture contrasts better with the soft baked fruit.
Bake in a pre-heated 180ºC oven, in individual ramekins or a tart pan, for 20-30 minutes, or until the crumble turns golden brown. Any remaining crumble can be perfectly stored in the freezer for future use. It also goes very well with strawberry and rhubarb, or blueberry and apple versions.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Pêra Rocha is the portuguese protected denomination of origin pear. It is in season until the end of spring and sold all over the world.
By Megan Melling
Photo by: Megan Melling
Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started three years ago when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Portugal. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She is currently working as a cook in Lisbon and documenting all of her personal recipes on her blog www.melsvittles.wordpress.com