A festive recipe from Neven's Waterford Christmas.


Serves: 4

  • 300ml (½  pint) clear apple juice
  • juice and finely grated rind of 2 limes 
  • 2 whole star anise 
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half 
  • ½ vanilla pod, split in half 
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • 4 firm, ripe pears 
  • 2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds


  1. Place the apple juice in a deep-sided pan with a lid (the pan needs to be just large enough to hold the pears in an upright position). Add the lime juice and rind, star anise, cinnamon stick, vanilla pod and honey.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. 
  3. Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stalks attached. Add them to the pan, standing them in an upright position. Cover with the lid and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes, until the pears are tender, basting them from time to time with the liquid.
  4. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the syrup. The cooking time will depend on the ripeness of the pears. 
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a dish and set aside. Reduce the cooking juices by half to a more syrupy consistency. This will take 8–12 minutes.
  6. Strain into a jug and leave to cool.
  7. To serve, carefully cut each pear in half so that you don't spoil their beautiful shape. Place the pear halves on a serving platter and drizzle over the spiced syrup followed by chocolate sauce.