Pecan Pear Pain Perdu

When I was a break­fast TV reporter my pro­du­cer Brian, who longed to make art­house films, used to groan that we were being forced to explore ‘the u-bend of Brit­ish tele­vi­sion’. He said we’d plumbed new depths the morn­ing I did a live para­chute jump strapped into the same suit as a mem­ber of the Red Dev­ils sky-diving team.

I thought of Brian today when I dis­covered the truly awful nov­els of Amanda McKit­trick Ros. Born in 1860 and a shock­ing social climber, she thor­oughly deserves her title ‘the best worst nov­el­ist ever’. Brian would have wept if he’d ever read this: ‘The liv­ing some­times learn the touchy tricks of the traitor, the tardy and the temp­ted; the dead have evaded the flighty earthly future, and form to swell the ret­inue of retired rights, the right­eous school of the invis­ible and the rebel­li­ous roar of the raging noth­ing.’ It’s no won­der that J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis used to read her work aloud to each other to see who would col­lapse into giggles first.

Miss McKit­trick Ros was clearly addicted to the school­girl art of allit­er­a­tion so I have a feel­ing she would have adored my Pecan Pear Pain Perdu. Since it’s Valentine’s Day any moment, I’ve pro­duced a heart-shaped Pecan Pear Pain Perdu. But feel free to dump the soppy hearts if you’re not in the mood.

Pecan Pear Pain Perdu

For two people

2 pears

1 large egg

100ml milk

4 tea­spoons caster sugar

2 thick slices stale white bread — hence the term ‘perdu’ or ‘lost’. The slices can be no-nonsense oblongs or you can snip them with scis­sors into hearts — whichever shape matches your sens­ib­il­it­ies or the state of your love life.

80g but­ter

Hand­ful pecan nuts

Halve the pears, peel and core them and then cut length­ways into 1mm thin slices. Put to one side. Break the egg into a shal­low bowl, whisk with a fork and add 2 tea­spoons of sugar and the milk. Dip the bread slices into the egg mix­ture, turn­ing over to coat each side. Melt approx­im­ately 40g of but­ter in a fry­ing pan over a medium heat. When hot and frothy, add the bread and fry for a couple of minutes on both sides until golden brown. Put each slice on a plate.

Wipe the fry­ing pan with kit­chen paper and then melt the remain­ing 40g of but­ter over a medium heat, along with the rest of the sugar. Stir until dis­solved and then add the pear slices and the pecan nuts. Cook gently for 4 or 5 minutes until the pears are soft and golden and the nuts are well coated. Arrange the pears and nuts art­fully over the bread.

Serve with creme fraiche and eat while read­ing Amanda McKit­trick Ros aloud to your part­ner and star­ing into his or her ‘globes of glare’ — McKit­trick Ros’ truly hideous term for eyes. Make sure you’re wear­ing sexy ‘south­ern neces­sar­ies’ — her term for knick­ers — and don’t, for good­ness sake, break into ‘glob­ules of liquid lava’ — that’s sweat darling, sweat.