Armagnac parfait with a poached pear and praline biscuit

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Martin Wishart adds a touch of magic to the humble pear

This is a dish undoubtedly influenced by my French training. It is an elegant dessert delightfully combining liqueur with fruit to form a truly decadent parfait. It's a nice, light ending to a rich winter dinner.

To prepare the dish for four people, you'll need: five eggs yolks, 100g caster sugar, 250ml double cream, semi-whipped, 25ml Armagnac, and pear coulis. The coulis is made from four Comice pears, peeled, two litres simple syrup, one cinnamon stick, 30g almonds and lemon juice. You'll also need stainless steel moulds of around seven centimetres in diameter.

First, place the sugar in a saucepan with three tablespoons of water. Using a sugar thermometer bring the sugar to a soft boil.

Next, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and add the sugar while still hot. Continue to whisk until it becomes a thick sabayon (a foamy mixture).

Fold in the semi-whipped cream and the Armagnac. Pour the mixture into stainless steel moulds and place in the freezer to set.

To make the pear coulis, bring the syrup up to a boil and add the cinnamon stick and pears. Cover with waxed paper, simmer for 15 minutes and allow to cool.

Remove the tops of the pears and reserve, and then remove the core from the pear. Puree the pears along with the syrup until it reaches the required consistency. Add a few drops of lemon to taste.

Using a standard praline recipe, crush the nuts to a fine powder, then finely sprinkle four eight-centimetre discs on to a non-stick mat and cook until golden.

Note: A standard praline recipe is made by melting 30g caster sugar over a low heat in a heavy based saucepan until melted. Add 30g whole almonds, toast until caramelised, then crush with a rolling pin.

To assemble, spoon the pear coulis on to serving plates and top with the parfait. Decorate with a praline disc and slices of poached pear.

''Born in Edinburgh in 1969, Martin's culinary vocation began in earnest when he joined a training scheme for chefs at the Crest Hotel in Edinburgh aged 16.

His career since has seen him work alongside world-renowned chefs at some of Europe's finest restaurants, including Albert Roux's Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, Michael Roux Jr at Le Gavroche, The Restaurant Marco Pierre White, and Marc Meneau's celebrated restaurant in Vezelay, France.

Martin opened his own eatery, Restaurant Martin Wishart, on The Shore in Leith, Edinburgh, in April 1999.

Today his restaurant has a staff of 14, and Martin works alongside his wife Cecile Auvinet, who manages the front of house.

In 2001 the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star, which was a first for the city of Edinburgh, and this year Martin was awarded his fourth AA rosette, another first for the city.

He was also recently nominated Best Restaurant in Scotland in the 2006 Good Food Guide.''

Related topics: NPD

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