About this recipe:This creamy pear pudding with caramel topping owes its existence my weekly look into the fridge to see what needs to be used up. I was so happy with the result that I just had to write down the recipe. Note: you need a small ovenproof pot with a lid, preferably made of cast iron, and a baking dish which is big enough to hold the pot in it.
1 tablespoon butter
100g caster sugar
8-10 pear halves from a jar or tin
1 small loaf of white bread, preferably a bit stale
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons apple or pear schnapps (or brandy)
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallised ginger
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Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease an ovenproof pan or casserole dish with vegetable oil.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and add half of the sugar and caramelise, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the mixture looks like a golden caramel, as it will get dark quickly and you don't what this to happen as it will taste bitter.
Using a small knife, cut the pears into fans, not cutting right through. Cover the bottom of the pan containing the caramel with the pears, their outsides facing down (be careful not to touch the caramel with your fingers, it's very hot!).
Cut the white bread into cubes and distribute them over the pears. Set aside.
Bring the milk, vanilla, cream and remaining sugar together to the boil. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl adding only a little milk at first (if you suddenly add it all, the eggs will curdle). Then add the remaining milk in a thin stream and mix well with the whisk. Add the schnapps, ginger and nutmeg. Slowly and gently pour over the bread cubes (if you do it too fast, it will destroy the caramel layer). Press the bread cubes down so that they are completely covered by the milk. Cover the pan with the lid.
Put a casserole dish big enough to fit the pan inside in the preheated oven. Pour boiling water into it to approximately 1cm below the rim and leave it in 45 minutes to 1 hour in the oven until the pudding is set.
Remove the pan from the oven and take off the lid. Allow the pudding to cool completely (if you turn it over too early, the caramel will still be too runny; it shouldn't be allowed to completely solidify though). Loosen the edge of the pudding with a sharp knife and tip over onto a serving plate. Leave in the fridge for awhile before serving.