For the custard
½ vanilla pod
300ml double cream
5 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
For the brioche
1 large or 2 small brioche loaves, cut into batons about 12cm x 5cm x 5cm
100ml whole milk
100ml double cream
50ml Pedro Ximénez sherry
150g unsalted butter
For the caramelised apples
6 Cox's apples
Juice of 1 lemon
70g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
Start by making the caramelised apples. Peel and core the apples and cut into segments. Toss with the lemon juice to stop them going brown. Melt the butter in a frying pan and once it starts foaming fry the apples for three minutes before adding the caster sugar. Cook, turning occasionally, until the sugar starts to caramelise and the apples are golden-brown, then remove from the heat so you don't burn the caramel.
Next make the custard. Slit the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Heat the cream, vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan to simmering point. In a bowl beat the egg yolks and caster sugar. Pour a little of the hot cream over the egg yolks and whisk before slowly adding the remainder of the cream, whisking continuously. Return the custard to the pan and whisk over a low heat until the mixture thickens (just below simmering point). Remove from the heat and place clingfilm directly on top to stop a skin from forming.
Mix the milk, cream, eggs and sherry together, pour into a shallow dish and add the brioche sticks in a single layer. Leave for a few minutes (rolling them occasionally to soak the mixture up evenly). Now fry the brioche sticks (in two batches if needs be) in foaming butter until golden brown. Reheat the apples if needs be and pile them up with the Poor Knights. Serve with custard.
Taken from Hawksmoor at Home by Huw Gott & Will Beckett
This is a rich, buttery and creamy dessert balanced by the acidity of the apples and a little kick from the sherry. The accompanying wine must not be too sweet, and must have some nutty notes to match the brioche while contrasting with the apple flavours. Also dried fruit and a touch of noble oxidative elements are needed to recall the sherry.
A slightly fortified wine with an alcoholic strength of around 17% can help to cut through the high content of creaminess. I would choose Pineau des Charentes Rosé, Domaine Chevessac, Cognac. This is a Mistelle from north of Bordeaux, made from a blend of freshly pressed and still unfermented red grape juice and young Cognac. It's then aged in wooden casks for at least three years.
Roberto Della Pietra is co-owner and sommelier at Gauthier Soho, London