Pears and apples baked in Marsala

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Totally shameless, the main reason I’ve made this afternoon treat is to distract self and, I guess, to provide energy for continuing the task at hand, writing a stupid essay. I kept looking over my desk to the fruit bowl and a dark spot forming on one of the pears and thought they better be used up. Nigel Slater has a recipe for pears in marsala, which gave me the idea. I used 3 pears, peeled, cored and quartered and an apple, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices, sprinkled the lot with a bit of dark soft brown sugar, poured some Marsala (a healthy glug), mixed and baked at 180c fan oven for about half an hour, turning once. Served with cream and flaked almonds on top. Delicious and totally gone. Now back to writing stupid essay.

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Baked custard with poached prunes

Was looking at random cookbooks I’d been given and found a lovely little baked custard recipe in Stevie Parle’s first book (he may have another one now no?). Was part of a breakfast with peaches poached in Sauternes or something like that. Too early for peaches but looking at another Tom Aikens book I spotted poached prunes. As I conveniently happened to have a bag of prunes nearing expiry date, thought this could work well together. Prunes were just poached in water with sugar, vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks (I didn’t use brandy given in recipe) and then soaked (for a minimum of 24 hours). Custards took about 10-15 minutes longer than Stevie suggested (30 mins) and were perfectly wobbly.

All in all, a marvellous little afternoon treat. More to come as the leftover egg whites are currently in the oven being turned into a meringue.