1 home-made or bought sponge for the base
About 200ml sherry
50ml whiskey
6 fresh figs
A small jar of maraschino cherries
Chopped toasted almonds
Chopped pistachios

500ml wine
500ml port
350g caster sugar
3-4 pears, peeled and whole
7 thin sheets of gelatine, soaked in water and squeezed out

1 vanilla pod
125ml milk
250ml double cream
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar

Creamy topping:
100g mascarpone
400ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar

  1. To make the jelly, pour the wine, port and sugar into a pan and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes. Add the pears, boil gently for a few more minutes then take off the heat. Leave the pears to cool down a little in the liquid and take on the colour of the wine and port.

  2. Remove the pears, keep them to one side then add the gelatine to the warm port and wine, stirring well to dissolve. Leave to cool.

  3. Cut the sponge into evenly sized pieces and lay them in the bottom of your bowl, pour over enough sherry and whiskey to ensure that each piece of sponge is soaked.

  4. Slice the poached pears and the gifs into even-sized pieces and arrange them on top of the sherry-soaked sponge. Pour the jelly mixture over so it covers the fruit. Put into the fridge and leave to set.

  5. To make the custard, split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds into a saucepan. Put the vanilla pod in too. Pour the milk and cream into the pan and bring to just under a boil. Remove the pod.

  6. Have ready a bowl of ice.

  7. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl. Pour the hot milk and cream mixture slowly over the egg mixture, stirring continually so the eggs don’t scramble until it thickens.

  8. Take off the heat and immediately plunge the base of the pan into the bowl of ice to stop it from cooking any further. Leave to cool then spoon the custard over the set jelly.

  9. To make the topping, whisk the mascarpone and cream in a bowl until it has nearly doubled and has a light but firm consistency, sieve in the icing sugar and give it a gentle whisk.

  10. Spoon the creamy mixture over the custard and top with maraschino cherries, chopped toasted almonds and pistachios.