Are you lucky enough to have a surplus of pears growing on a fruit tree in your garden? I’m not.. but Corks’ Aunty, Ingrid is and some of these little beauties have made their way in to my fruit bowl.
My dad grew up on a vineyard and stone fruit orchard so growing up, I have eaten more fruit than you can poke a stick at. Everyone is different; I like eating pears when they are so hard you can hardly take a bite out of them. The harder the better. Dad is the same.
Most people like a softer pear, but they turn from an unripe rock like fruit to completely squishy and overripe so much quicker than an apple does. That is why poaching them is so good. They can be poached if they are hard or super soft, it really doesn’t matter as the flavours penetrate the flesh and they get softer as they poach, the longer they cook. They also become more flavoursome the longer they stay resting in the poaching liquid, so if you have people coming round for dinner, you can make them in the morning.
This dessert is SO simple to make, tastes really nice and can be made for two or ten pax easily.
Thanks Aunty Ingrid!
pears poached in cinnamon + vanilla + saffron
4 cups of water
2 cups of brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 small stick of cinnamon
3 strips of lemon rind
1 small pinch of saffron (optional) Did you know saffron is worth more money per kilo than gold? A little goes a long way.
Dark chocolate, for grating over the top
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Simply peel the pears, leaving them whole, with the stems and cores still intact.
- In a saucepan; Add the water, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, lemon rind and saffron and bring to the boil.
- Add the pears and back the heat off to a low simmer.
- Let them simmer on a really low heat for an hour or two (depending on how ripe the pears are and how soft they are getting). You still want them to hold their shape.
- Once ready to serve – Take the pears out of the liquid and let the poaching liquid boil rapidly until it becomes more ‘jam like’ in consistency and reduces by a third.
- Dish up a plate with 1 pear per person (or cut them in half down the middle if you only want a small serving), drizzle over some of the poaching liquid, a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream and grate some dark chocolate over the top right before you serve them.
- Pears poached in red wine are also delicious, very decadent and special for a dinner party. Simple replace the water with a bottle of red wine!
- As it’s hard to pinpoint the amount of time they will take to poach, I recommend not leaving them to the last minute if you have people coming over. Poach them in the morning and let them rest in their liquid still in the saucepan. Once you are ready to serve them, put the saucepan back on the stove and heat them up.
- Take the grater and chocolate to the table and sprinkle the “chocolate dust” or “milo” as George calls it, at the table. Adds to the “theatre”.
- You can buy chunks of good quality Belgium chocolate from deli’s and good supermarkets. Knights Meats in Wagga sells them in dark, milk and white chocolate varieties. (Thanks Ali for the tip).
I poached these pears last night and took them round to a dinner party at our friends place in Mangoplah. I put Pat to work! He meticulously grated the chocolate over the plated pears and when we carried them out to the guests, Bernie was overhead saying – “Oh cool. Ice cream and milo!”
We used a very fine grater to create “chocolate dust” as the garnish. It worked really well.
If you make these pears, I’d love for you to post a pic on Instagram and tag #los_kitchen.