Chef’s Special: Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay.

Dark Chocolate & Pear Fondant, Conference Petals & Caramel with William Syrup, Pear Drop Brittle & Roddas Clotted Ice Cream.

Recipe by Aaron Janes, Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay

Image courtesy of

Aaron Janes

Dark Chocolate and Pear Fondant

There is no doubting Aaron Janes’ ambition and determination to put Silks on the culinary map, and he is proud of the fact that the menu will be as Cornish in its ingredients as it is possible to be. “Silks is the only restaurant in Newquay to win a Taste of the West Award in 2009,” he enthuses, and in February, Aaron was part of team that came second at ‘The Cornish Challenge’ (run by Cornwall Catering Excellence to promote the use of Cornish ingredients). “Our menus are 96% made up of Cornish ingredients. If we could grow sugar, coffee and or citrus fruits reliably, we’d guarantee you tasted only Cornwall on the plate.”

“Silks”, he says, “is changing. We have updated the menus using classic dishes. There will be a choice of set menus of 2 or 3 courses with complimentary pre-starters and between course sorbets. We will also have a local fish special every day. We’re moving away from the habit of stacking ingredients on the plate, and working horizontally, as the Japanese do, making it possible to taste ingredients separately or combining them together.” Aaron’s aim is to show how flair can take the minimum of main ingredients and transform them into many different guises on a single plate; “For example a lemon tart with lemon sorbet and lemon brittle.”

“Desserts are my forte, and this particular one was made in the competition. The pears are from Westcountry Fruit Sales and the chocolate is Trenance’s.  The dish is deceptively simple but looks complex. If you can make a caramel, the rest is easy; it is only the decorative garnish which makes it appear complicated.”

Ingredients: (serves 4)


175g Dark Cornish Chocolate

25g Sugar

25g Salted Butter

Shot of Brandy

1 Williams Pear, Grated Finely

2 Medium Eggs

25g Self Raising Flour

Coco Powder

Petals & Caramel

1 Conference Pear

25g Sugar

25g Butter

½ Pint of Double Cream


1 William Pear

25g Sugar



1k Light Pear Drops

Ice Cream

2 Vanilla Pods

½ Pint of Double Cream

½ Pint of Roddas Clotted Cream

6 Egg Yokes

Sugar to Taste

½ Shot of Brandy



Chocolate Pencils

Chocolate Glacage


To make the fondant, melt the chocolate, brandy, butter and sugar together in a bain-marie. Peel and finely grate a Williams pear into the mixture. Williams have a stronger flavour to battle against the chocolate. In the meantime make a batter using the eggs and flour. When the chocolate is melted take off the heat and when at room temperature bind the batter mixture with the chocolate mixture to make a chocolate batter. Butter 4 ramekins and put into the freezer for 5 minutes, take them out and butter them again. Coat the inside of the ramekins with cocoa powder before putting the chocolate batter in. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 180 degrees and then leave to rest for 5 minutes. Cook them for too long they will turn into chocolate brownies. They should be a sponge on the outside with a gooey centre.

To make the pear petals and caramel; peel a Conference pear (which has a more subtle and perfumed flavour) top and tail it and cut the centre out by cutting the pear into 3 cheeks. These can be turned into petal shapes. Melt the sugar and butter and heat until the colour changes; throw in the petals and the double cream which will start to turn into toffee. Boil until the pears start to coat in the toffee. Take them out and leave them to rest.

For the syrup, grate pear into a water and sugar solution and boil to make the syrup. This should be kept on a roiling boil until the solution becomes thick and syrupy. Once off the heat, pass the syrup through a sieve to produce clear, pear-flavoured syrup.

For the pear brittle garnish; crush pear drop sweets into a fine sugar powder in a blender. Cut a rectangular template (we use templates cut out from the lids of plastic containers at the restaurant) and place on a large baking tray lined with a silicone liner Sift enough sugar powder to get a thin layer and then lift off the template. Repeat this four times. Melt in the oven at around 120 degrees to produce a clear, sweet, wafer thin biscuit. Leave until cooled. (These can be made beforehand and stored in an air tight container). Add chocolate icing (Glacage) and chocolate pencils for the artwork.

The ice-cream can be made in advance using a standard ice-cream method or buy a good ice cream to go with this desert.

Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Dane Road, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1EN

Tel: 01637 839048

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