Edited extract from Fruit by Bernadette Worndl, published by Smith Street Books, $55. Photography © Gunda Dittrich. Out November 2018
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Pork cutlets with caramelised pears and sage
Roast and caramel flavours combine here with smoky wooden-barrel notes of Cognac and creamy, sour crème fraîche.
4 pork cutlets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch sage
2 tablespoons clarified butter
4 small pears
6 French shallots
1 garlic clove
5 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
40 ml (1¼ fl oz) Cognac
100 g (3½ oz) crème fraiche
Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F) (conventional). Season the cutlets with salt and pepper. Pick the sage leaves. Heat half the clarified butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add the sage leaves and cutlets, and quickly sear the meat on both sides. Transfer the cutlets and sage to an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
Halve or quarter the pears. Peel and halve the shallots, and bruise the garlic clove. Heat the remaining clarified butter in the same pan and cook the pear, shallot and garlic until golden brown. Add the juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaf and cognac, and very carefully set alight to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the crème fraîche. Remove the cutlets from the oven and transfer them to the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the cutlets for the flavours to combine, then season with salt and pepper and serve.
This goes well with creamy polenta or fresh white bread.