• 125 g (4 oz) ready-to-eat dried figs, finely chopped
  • grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
  • 6 firm, ripe pears
  • 500 g (1 lb) chilled ready-made puff pastry or homemade flaky pastry (see page 15)
  • a little flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Put the figs in a small saucepan with the orange rind and juice. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes until soft, adding a little extra water if needed. Leave to cool.

Peel the pears and take out the cores via the bases. Trim off the bases so that they stand upright, then spoon the fig mixture into the core cavity and press down firmly.

Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured surface and trim to a 43 x 38 cm (17 x 15 inch) rectangle. Cut a 6 cm (2½ inch) wide strip off one of the long sides, then cut the strip into 6 small squares. Place each square under the base of the pear to stop the stuffing coming out.

Brush the remaining pastry with beaten egg, then cut into long thin strips about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide. Take the strips one at a time and wind around each pear, beginning at the top and curling around the pear, with the strip slightly overlapping, until the base is reached. Add a second strip if needed.

Put the dumplings on a greased baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven, 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6, for 15–20 minutes until golden brown. Dust with sifted icing sugar and serve hot with custard.

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