- 4 pears (such as beurre bosc)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 400g caster sugar
- 1 1/3 cups (330ml) verjuice
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 2 tbs brandy
- 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra melted dark chocolate to serve
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup (185ml) thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve (optional)
- 25g caster sugar
- 10g almond meal
- 20g pistachio kernels
- ¼ cup (35g) plain flour
- 20g unsalted butter, melted
- For the chocolate mousse, place the sugar, coffee, brandy and ½ cup (125ml) water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and coffee.
- Place the finely chopped chocolate in a blender, then, with the motor running, carefully pour in the hot coffee mixture through the feeder tube, blending until the chocolate has melted. Add the eggwhites and cream to the blender and pulse until just combined.
- Transfer the mousse to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- For the pistachio soil, place the sugar, almond meal, pistachios and flour in a mini food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir through the melted butter, then spread out onto the lined baking tray. Bake for 1 hour, stirring once, or until the crumbs are dry and lightly golden. Cool.
- Peel, halve and core the pears, leaving the stalks intact. Rub the flesh with the lemon. Place the sugar and verjuice in a saucepan with the vanilla pod and seeds. Stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then add the pears. If the liquid doesn’t quite cover the pears, add enough water to cover.
- Cover the surface closely with a piece of baking paper cut to fit, then cook the pears for 20–25 minutes until tender and just translucent (the time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears). Cool the pears in the syrup, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Place 2 pear halves on each serving plate, add a scoop of chocolate mousse, drizzle with the melted chocolate, sprinkle with the pistachio soil and serve with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 4.