Thursday, October 27, 2011
Spiced Poached Pears with Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Pears are in season and my new favorite recipe for them is poached pears.
Often you will see them poached in wine, or some alchaholic infused syrup. Not that wine drenched pears does'nt sounds delcious, but I wanted to make these afforadble and with common items most people may have already in their pantry. I also wanted to use spices that I think compliment the flavor of the pears.
I started with a simple syrup and infused it with a variety of my favorite spices that give it that comforting fall feel and taste that is great for an evening in dessert or a quick sweet treat to finish off the evening after a meal with friends and family.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
4 Bosc Pears - ripe, but still slightly firm - peeled, quartered and cored
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
4 whole cardmom pods
1/2 a vanilla bean - split down the center and seeded
1 stick of cinnamon
To seed your vanilla bean:
The seeds are the most flavorful part of the vanilla bean so you want to get out as many of them as possible to release their delicious vanilla-ie flavor. Take your vanilla bean and cut in half; set aside one half for a later use. With the remaining half, take a small sharp knife and split down the center length wise. With the blade of your knife, flatten the pod and scrape the seeds off of each bean half. Place the seeds and the pod into the pot with the poaching liquid.
To Make Poaching Liquid:
In a medium sized pot, add all ingredients except for the pears. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat, cover pan and let spices steep for about 5 minutes.
Peel pears, cut off the stems and bottoms. Cut them in half length wise, then cut in half again. With a pairing knife, cut out the core from each quarter. Gently place the pear quarters into the pot of liquid with a slotted spoon. Increase heat and bring to a boil, let cook for two minutes. The reduce heat again and cover pears. Let simmer for 10 mintues.
Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Place four pear quarters into a bowl with a slotted sppon and adding a little syrup to each bowl - if desired. Top with Earl Grey whipped cream (recipe below) and enjoy!
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Making your own whipped cream is one of my favorite things to do when whipping up a quick dessert (no pun intended ;). It's also an easy way to impress your friends. Really all it is is heavy whipping cream, vanilla and sugar. The nice thing about making your own, is you can make as little or as much as you like and you can flavor and sweeten it to your liking. Some of my favorite ways are to infuse the cream with other flavors before whipping it. As in this recipe, I have steeped earl grey tea in the cream. However, you can flavor it with just about anything from Grand Marnier, to Cinnamon or even mint. My other favorite version is instead of uusing early grey tea, use orange spice tea. This too goes really well with the pears.
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp loose earl grey tea leaves
In a small bowl or cup, place whipping cream and tea. stir together place in microwave and heat for 20 seconds. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Place cream back in fridge to chill and steep for 45 minutes. When ready to whip cream. Place a strainer over a large glass bowl. Strain tea from cream. With a hand mixer, whip cream until peaks are left standing when you remove the beaters - about 60-90 seconds.