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Chocolate-Brushed Pears-Flambé with Mousse au Chocolat

Recipe by Laurence Hillman.

Another wonderful dessert from our Cindy and Laurence Hillman Thanksgiving dinner feature. Serves 4.


  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 Nicely shaped Anjou pears (or similar) with some of the stem intact
  • 2 tbsp real butter
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted in double boiler
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or equivalent in liquid form)


Make Chocolate Mousse the day before serving this desert (see below)

Cut bottoms off the pears so that they stand upright

Core the insides from the bottom to remove all seeds. With a peeler remove strips of 1/2 inch from the stem to the bottom, leaving every other strip and creating a striped look.

Stand the pears in a steamer and steam them until a knife goes through the fruit with some resistance remaining.

Cool in chilled water and immediately rub with lots of lemon juice to prevent discoloration

Heat the butter in a large skillet and add the pears. Keep turning the pears so they brown just a bit without burning the butter.

Add the brandy (caution: never pour the brandy directly into the skillet but into a cup first) when the butter is very hot, but not burning, stand back and immediately light the brandy with a long-neck lighter.

Let simmer for a few minutes while you keep turning the pears.

Remove the pears and remove all the grease on paper towels.

Dip the bottom 1/2 inch of the pears in the melted chocolate and use a pastry brush to gently paint the chocolate upwards towards the stem about another 3/4 inches, leaving the stripes of peel to be seen.

Whip cream and add sugar and vanilla.

Decorate a large plate with more melted chocolate (making random swirls) and stand one pear on each plate, off center.

Add chocolate mousse on one side, whipped cream on the other.

Dribble the remaining melted chocolate over everything.