Isn’t it just fabulous when you can create the most beautifully delicious dish from something simple? It’s these sort of things that I really do love most. The meals where the produce or simplicity of minimal flavours speak for themselves.
Poached pears are one of those things. Turn something simple, and somewhat relatively boring, into something really gorgeous.
This dessert is super easy. Not only does it come together without too much thought or effort, but it can be made in advance and looks really pretty on the plate too. A really good staple recipe to keep up your sleeve.
This dessert went down so well the last time I made it that one of my guests proclaimed it to be the best dessert he’d ever had. Definitely another reason you really should make it yourself!
Zest of a mandarin (or other citrus of your choice)
Vanilla bean ice-cream
1. POACHED PEARS - In a saucepan add the caster sugar, water, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Stir together well and add the pears.
NOTEMake sure to use a saucepan that allows the pears to be just covered by the poaching liquid.
2. Place the saucepan over a high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer gently until the pears are just soft to the core, when pierced with a fork, but not falling apart. This will take 15-20 minutes.
Remove the pears from heat and set aside to a separate heatproof dish to cool. Pour half of the poaching liquid over the pears to keep moist as set aside to reheat before serving (unless serving immediately).
NOTEThe pears reheat well in the microwave. Reheat slowly in the microwave one minute at a time, basting with the liquid until warmed and ready.
3. SALTED ‘PEAR’ CARAMEL - Return the saucepan, with the remaining half of the leftover poaching liquid, to the stove top and increase the heat to high. Bring to the boil once again and allow the poaching liquid to boil away for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. When the liquid has reduced to approximately 1/3 of the volume and is beginning to darken like a caramel, quickly remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the sour cream. This will cause the liquid to bubble. Whisk it well until combined, then add the final teaspoon of sea salt and stir through.
Set this Salted ‘Pear’ Caramel aside until serving time.
4. ROASTED CITRUS NUTS - preheat a fan forced oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toss the nuts together in a bowl and scatter across the baking tray. Place in the oven and bake till just golden brown. Remove from the oven and pour the still warm roasted nuts into a bowl. While warm add the zest and toss together. Set aside to use when serving the dessert.
NOTEThe heat from the nuts will warm the zest, releasing the citrus oils, scent and flavour to the nuts.
5. SERVING - Place warmed pears in a dessert bowl, drizzle over some of the Salted ‘Pear’ Caramel, scatter over some of the Roasted Citrus Nuts and serve with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice-cream. Blink and you’ll miss it.
To enhance the roasted nuts, enjoy this dessert with a little sherry glass of frangelico or nocello! The hazelnut flavour will work well with pears. The two are made for each other.
If frangelico/nocello isn’t your jam, a glass of a good ‘sticky’ - preferably a botrytis riesling - will also work super well!
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