Tea-poached pear and date cobbler
6 William (firm green) pears (1.3kg), peeled
2 litres water
2 vanilla beans, halved and seeds scraped
4 strips lemon peel
3 earl grey tea bags
12 fresh dates (240g), pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
⅓ cup (55g) brazil nuts, plus ¼ cup (40g) extra, chopped ¾ cup (100g) white spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup (75g) raw caster (superfine) sugar
50g cold unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
Place the pears, water, vanilla, lemon peel and tea bags in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove the pears and vanilla beans and reserve
1⁄3 cup (80ml) of the tea mixture. Divide the dates and reserved tea mixture between 2 x 12cm x 18cm (2-litre- capacity) ovenproof dishes, sprinkle over the cornflour and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the brazil nuts in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Place the brazil nuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and butter in a medium bowl and rub the mixture together with your fingers to combine. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.
Divide the pears and vanilla beans between the dishes. Spoon the cobbler mixture around the pears, sprinkle with the extra brazil nuts and place the dishes on a baking tray. Cook for 26–30 minutes or until golden. Serve. SERVES 6.