Baked pears

These indulgent baked pears will warm you and your guests' hearts this winter. Fill your kitchen with the irresistible smell of cinnamon and warm pears tonight! Recipe from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Tip 50g whole almonds into a small roasting tin and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and then roughly chop the almonds and tip them into a bowl.

2. Crumble 6 soft amaretti biscuits and add to the chopped almonds with the zest of 1 lemon and a pinch of ground cinnamon. In another small bowl cream together 75g softened unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar until pale and light. Add 1 organic egg yolk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat again until smooth before adding the crumbled biscuit mixture.

3. Peel 4 ripe pears using a vegetable peeler and toss in the juice of 1 lemon to prevent them discolouring. Halve the pears and remove the cores using a melon baller, and arrange in a greased ovenproof dish cut side uppermost.

4. Stuff the pears with the filling mixture and pour over the remaining lemon juice. Drizzle over 4–6 tablespoons Marsala and a couple of tablespoons of water, cover loosely with foil and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until tender. The cooking time will depend on the ripeness of the pears. Serve 2 pear halves per person with the buttery Marsala pan juices poured over and with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream.