We've used brown rice flour here for its rich flavour, but it has the further benefit of making this gluten-free. (If it's not at the supermarket you'll find it at health-food stores.)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon quills
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 1 star anise
- 6 small pears, such as corella
- 200 gm caster sugar
- 60 gm butter, diced, plus 125gm, melted
- 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream
- 125 gm (1 cup) pecans, toasted and ground
- 115 gm (1 cup) brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 95 gm (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50 gm (¼ cup) raw caster sugar
- 1Place sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean and seeds, star anise and 1 litre water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer, add pears and cook until tender (25-30 minutes), then set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, stir sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves (3 minutes), bring to the boil and cook without stirring until caramel (6-8 minutes). Add diced butter (be careful, hot caramel will spit), whisk to combine, then add cream and a pinch of sea salt, whisk and set aside.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Combine pecans, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine eggs, brown sugar, milk and vanilla, then gradually add melted butter, stirring until incorporated. Add pecan mixture to egg mixture in 2 batches, stirring to combine between each addition.
- 4Divide batter among six 1½-cup buttered ramekins and pour caramel on top. Drain pears (discard liquid), then gently push a pear into the centre of each ramekin (the batter should reach just below the rim). Dust with raw caster sugar and bake until puddings have a golden crust and an inserted skewer withdraws clean (30 minutes). Serve puddings warm dusted with icing sugar with ginger ice-cream to the side.
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