My family and friends are all fine - sure, there's a bit more damage to stuff, and it's very depressing that everyone seems to be backpedalling, but we'll get there eventually - these things do make you realise what is truly important in life.
Because sugar always helps in hard times, I have a nice, sweet dessert recipe to share. I spotted these pretty pears on the dangerously addictive Pinterest, which is basically a sort of online pinboard - people "pin" up pretty or quirky things they've spied around the web, and the photo links back to the site.
I love pears, I love honey, and I love pastry, so really how could this not be good? They're also kinda cute - I'm not sure if you see the beehive in them, as mine were a little irregular - but they're more interesting-looking than many desserts. They're also pretty easy - chuck some stuff in a saucepan with the pears for half an hour, then mummify with pastry and bake.
Pears pretty much top the dessert-fruit list for me - well, they perhaps tie with lemons, which make an appearance in this dish anyway - I enjoy lots of others but something about the texture of pear, and the oh-so-subtle flavour that goes well with so many delectable things (chocolate, honey, toffee, custard, almond, ginger - and many more) wins out for me. It's funny, though, I pretty much never eat them. What's your favourite fruit, either to bake with or eat?
Beehive Pears (adapted from Sprinkle Bakes)
2-3 sheets of ready made puff pastry dough, thawed
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, seeded with hull reserved or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole cloves
Peel pears and core from the bottom. Trim off the bottom of the pears so they sit flat.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar and honey and bring to a simmer. When the sugar has melted, add the pears, vanilla, lemon, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer pears until tender - 20-40 minutes, depending on ripeness and size. Remove from pot, set on a lined oven tray, and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 180 C. Cut the pastry into 1cm strips and wrap the strips around the pears, working quickly and starting from the bottom. When a pastry strip ends wet the end with a little of the syrup and press the next strip gently on top. Wrap to the top, tucking in the end piece. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Discard vanilla, lemon, cinnamon and cloves and drain off around half the syrup. Simmer the remaining liquid over medium heat until thick. Drizzle over pears to serve.