It’s hard not to love this dessert. Cakes made with oil have an intriguingly different texture from those made with butter, and the celery leaves add a refreshing note alongside the white chocolate ice cream
• 1/2 quantity Swiss meringue
• 2 pears, peeled
• 1 lemon, halved
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 25g butter
• 1/2 quantity Almond and rapeseed oil cake
• 4 teaspoons poire william liqueur
• 1/2 quantity White chocolate ice cream
• 1 handful celery leaves
• 1 tablespoon fennel tops
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
For the jelly:
• 100ml elderflower cordial
• 100ml water
• 2 sheets gelatine, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
1 Preheat the oven to 110°C, or use a dehydrator set at 63°C. Line a baking sheet, or the tray of the hydrator, with silicone paper.
2 Spread the meringue to a thickness of about 3mm across the silicone paper. Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours then turn the oven off and leave to dry out. Alternatively, place in the dehydrator for 4 hours.
3 Meanwhile, make the jelly. Heat the elderflower cordial and water in a saucepan. Add the drained, squeezed gelatine and heat until dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve into a small plastic container and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
4 Place the pears in a saucepan with the lemon, sugar, cinnamon stick and enough water to just cover the pears. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
5 Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool. Cut in half, remove the core and slice into wedges.
6 Heat a frying pan until hot, add the butter and pear wedges and sauté for a couple of minutes until golden.
7 To serve, break the cake apart into small pieces and divide among 4 serving plates.
8 Drizzle with the Poire William liqueur, then place a few pieces of pear next to the pieces of cake. Place a spoonful of the ice cream alongside, together with a few broken pieces of the meringue.
9 Scatter the celery leaves and fennel tops around and finish with a few squares of elderflower jelly and scattering of fennel seeds.
Recipe courtesy of James Martin, extracted from Sweet. Photography by © Quadrille.