600g ripe pears peeled cored and roughly diced
1 vanilla pod split
1 lemon finely zested and juiced
300g softened unsalted butter
Caster sugar to taste (about 100-200g)
A generous handful dried blueberries
Poire Williams liqueur (optional)
100g semi-dried pear roughly chopped
3/4 pain de mie or brioche loaf
For the garnish
Candied lemon zest mint sprigs and icing sugar
Put the pears with a split vanilla pod lemon zest and juice a spoonful of butter and some caster sugar to taste in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set over a medium high heat and cook until they form a soft chunky mess.
Pour the excess pear juice into a small pan. Add the blueberries to the juice gently bring to the boil remove from the heat and leave to soak. If wished add some Poire Williams to taste and set aside.
Add the chopped dried pears to the cooked fruit and remove the vanilla pod. Grease six 175g metal moulds with the softened butter before sprinkling with lots of caster sugar.
Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into 5mm slices. Liberally butter both sides of each slice. Cut a round of bread to fit the bottom of each mould. Then cut several slices into strips about 4cm long. Line the sides of each mould with overlapping strips making sure that they are 5mm higher than the sides of the mould. Fill each mould and seal with remaining bread.
Bake the charlottes in the oven at 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6 for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3 and cook for 20-30 minutes. Turn out and serve warm with the blueberry sauce and a big dollop of crème fraîche. Garnish with some candied lemon zest mint sprig and a sifting of icing sugar.