800g ripe but firm pears
150g golden caster sugar
150ml dry white wine
125g sponge fingers or boudoir biscuits
2 tablespoons Poire William eau-de-vie, Grappa or Calvados
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Crème fraiche, to serve
Prepare the lemons.
Wash and dry the lemons and using a potato peeler, peel off 3 strips of zest from one lemon and set aside. Squeeze the juice from all the lemons into a bowl.
Prepare the pears.
Peel, core and quarter the pears. Slice them very thinly and place the slices into the lemon juice making sure they are completely covered. Leave them to marinade in the juice for an hour.
Make the wine sauce.
Put the wine and water into a large frying pan and add the sugar, spices and lemon strips. Heat this up over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved making sure you stir constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes and then add the pears and their juices to the liquid.
Cover and cook the pears over a low heat until they are tender turning them over a few times. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon, set them aside and discard the lemon peels. Increase the heat and allow the juices to reduce until it is very rich and heavy in syrup. Mix in the liqueur.
Make the base.
Soak the biscuits in the syrup to make them soft and then use the biscuits to line a pudding basin. Top the biscuits with the pears and cover the pears with more of the soaked biscuits. Continue until the biscuits and pears are all used. Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons of syrup over the top of the pudding and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge and allow to cool for 6 hours.
Remove from the fridge and place a round plate over the basin. Turn the basin upside down and lift up the basin from the pudding. Serve with a bowl of crème fraiche.