Delicious and simple this spiced mulled pear recipe from France is so easy to make but really packs a wow factor punch. Use a soft and fruity wine, a good but not a robust wine; Bordeaux or Burgundy reds are too strong and will overpower the flavours of the delicate spices and pears.
13 to 15 pears, depending on size, small and slightly under-ripe
5 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
4 inch (10cm) piece of fresh ginger, chopped into small pieces
zest and juice of 2 large lemons
225g (8ozs) white sugar
1 litre red wine
Pre-heat the oven to 130C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2.
Carefully peel the pears leaving the stalks intact. Divide them between 2 x 1 litre (1 3/4 pint) jars and 1 x 500ml (18fl oz) jar; I used Kilner jars.
Distribute the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, sugar and wine between all the jars, making sure that the pears are covered by the liquid.
Cover the jars but do not seal and place them in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove them and seal the jars whilst they are hot, taking care not to burn yourself and to use oven gloves; I added rubber sealing rings on my Kilner jars. They will keep for up to several months.
Serve with custard, ice cream or on their own or even with cheese!
Karen Burns-Booth is the multi award winning food writer at Lavender and Lovage