Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Baked Pears in Verjuice with Dark Chocolate Sauce

This sophisticated dessert is steeped in fragrant verjuice before served with a decadent chocolate sauce. 

Words & recipes: Ruth Pretty  Styling & photographs: Carolyn Robertson

Heat oven to 190°C. Place 6 halved and cored pears into an ovenproof gratin dish, cut side down. Pour over 500ml white or red verjuice and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the pears are soft (cooking time will vary depending on the pears’ size and ripeness).

Serve warm or cold, with juices and Dark Chocolate Sauce. A little raspberry sorbet or ice cream on the side is a good addition.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Heat 200ml cream (use coconut cream to make this dairy-free) in a small, heavy-based pot until nearly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in 200g chopped dark chocolate (such as Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Dark Ghana). Stir until smooth. Serve immediately or let sit at room temperature until slightly thickened. Serves 6


Verjuice (or verjus) is the preserved juice of unripe grapes. It’s acidic but has a gentler flavour than vinegar or wine. It’s possible to substitute the verjuice in this recipe for red wine, verjuice has a milder flavour which allows the pear flavour to shine through but red wine is also delicious just in a different way.

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