Automata’s blackened pears, vanilla mascarpone and candied hazelnuts

"I don't eat a lot of desserts or really sweet things," says Wells. "I find that a meal needs balance all the way to the end, and it's the very simple things I like the most. Here, the natural sugars of the pear caramelise and deepen, and work perfectly with the mascarpone and candied nuts."

You'll need

6 firm William or Packham pears, unpeeled 200 gm hazelnuts 50 gm caster sugar 500 gm mascarpone Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean


  • 01
  • Char the pears over an open flame or on a barbecue, turning every 5 minutes, until completely blackened all over and a thick crust forms (30-40 minutes). Cool completely, then carefully remove the crust and halve lengthways.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for candied hazelnuts, preheat oven to 160C. Spread nuts on a baking tray and roast until browned and fragrant (5-6 minutes), then tip into a clean tea towel and rub off skins. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add nuts, then gradually scatter sugar over, mixing continuously, until sugar caramelises and coats the nuts (10-12 minutes). Transfer to a tray lined with baking paper to cool, then coarsely chop and store in an airtight container until required.
  • 03
  • Fold mascarpone and vanilla seeds together in a bowl and serve with blackened pears scattered with candied hazelnuts.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Le Père Jules “Bouché” pear cider, Normandy.

Featured in

May 2016

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