An elegant and light dessert, made from crisp summer bambinella pears that are poached in vanilla and cinnamon. Ideally served on whipped sweet ricotta and topped with crushed and whole candied hazelnuts.
If you are Maltese, or have seen this fruit before, you already know what I’m talking about when I say that this is one of the BEST fruits. It might sound quite bold I know, but my passion for this fruit is enormous. For me, personally, bambinella pears is one of the three main fruits which symbolises a Maltese summer together with prickly pears and figs! Nothing beats the excitement I have when I open the fridge and see one of these fruits waiting for me. Since I’ve been living abroad, I have only been having these fruits on limited occasions, especially when it comes to the bambinella pears.
This is why when I realised that I was going to be in Malta during their season, I’ve asked my parents to get me some of these fruits so to enjoy them and also to create something for you. They didn’t disappoint, as they bought kilos of these pears, hence I was having some every time I was feeling peckish, for dessert and any other time.
What is Bambinella?
Bambinella pears, also known as June Pears, are very small sized pears that are native to the Maltese islands. For thousands of years, they were exclusively cultivated on these Mediterranean islands. Recently, they started being imported to the United Kingdom, and also grown by some farmers in the UK and Australia.
This species of pears is also part of the rose family which is in season from mid-summer until early autumn. Bambinella pears have an unusual small round size, which averages around 3 centimetres. They have a firm smooth greenish skin with some yellowish and pink blush patches, which is determined by how much sun they receive. Although they seem to have a tough skin, they damage and bruise easily as any other pear.
These summer pears are crisp and crunchy with a moist and sweet flesh, that resembles an asian pear. Bambinella pears are extremely juicy with a delicious and sweet flavour. Traditionally, bambinella pears are much more likely consumed raw as a bite-sized crunchy sweet snack. However, these pears can be used in baked desserts such as cakes, muffins, tarts and pies. Another great way of cooking them is by poaching them, as done in this recipe, as these pears are quite firm, and so they keep their texture really well!
Making this dessert
Even though there are several steps to follow, this recipe is so effortless to make and you’ll get an elegant sophisticated light dessert. Firstly, carefully peel the tiny bambinella pears so that all the skin is removed. Here you can either do as I did and leave them whole, or else half them prior cooking.
While the pears are gently cooking in the vanilla and cinnamon flavoured water, prepare the candied hazelnuts. All you need to do is, place the hazelnuts together with the sugar and water and cook until the sugar starts to caramelise around the nuts. Once ready, place on a piece of parchment paper and set aside. Meanwhile, whip the ricotta with sugar and milk. As soon as the poached bambinella pears are cooked, let them cool for a few minutes and start preparing to assemble this dessert. Start by layering a generous amount of sweet ricotta and place three poached bambinella on it and sprinkle the candied hazelnuts on top.
Poached Bambinella Pears
Poached Bambinella Pears
- 9 bambinella pears
- 500 ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 100 g sugar
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
Whipped sweet ricotta
- 150 g ricotta
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp milk
- In a saucepan place the water, sugar and spices. Set aside.
- Peel the bambinella pears and add them to the saucepan with the spiced syrup. Place the saucepan with the pears on medium heat, and once it starts boiling reduce to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes until the pears feel soft when piercing with a knife.
- Once ready, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the pears cool for a few minutes.
- To make the whipped ricotta: Place the ricotta, milk, sugar in a blender. Blend all the ingredients until you get a creamy texture. Place the mixture in a bowl and set aside, preferably in the fridge until it's time for assembly.
- To make the candied hazelnuts: In a small pot combine the hazelnuts, the sugar and water. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes until there is a slight bubbling. Remove from heat and spread the hazelnuts on parchment paper and let cool.
- As soon as you have all the components ready, spread a generous dollop of the whipped sweet ricotta on the plate and place three poached bambinella pears on top. Sprinkle some crushed and whole hazelnuts.
- Optional: You can also sprinkle some crushed chocolate biscuits over the whole plate for some extra crunch and sweetness.
More recipes with whipped ricotta! (Whipped Ricotta and Fig Toast)
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list down below so to received the recipe updates straight to your mailbox!