Saturday, January 8, 2011

Poached Pears

Disclaimer: When I was looking for information on the foods Sammit and I could or could not eat while searching for my suspected food allergy I found a lot of conflicting lists.  In the end, I settled on the list of foods to avoid from my ND - so I apologize if this recipe contains foods that you are not able to eat on your elimination diet.

 Sammit and I put together a nice dinner last night (when I say together - I made dinner and Sammit set the table and did the dishes).  I foil baked [Wild Alaskan] cod with some Old Bays & garlic and added a side of wild rice (cooked in HM bone stock) and steamed broccoli.  I was going to take a picture because it was just beautiful - but I'm finding that the better the meal, the less likely I am to have a picture.  I'll work on that.  But the real show stopper was dessert, something to which we thought we'd long said goodbye while looking for my allergy: poached pears!

Now, I've never made or had poached pairs before this, so if you're familiar (and a big fan) you might not like these.  We aren't wine drinkers and rarely ever have it in the house so even though the alcohol would cook off (alcohol is not allowed on the ED) we didn't use any in our recipe.  We also can't have processed sugar, so the simple syrup was out as well.  What to do - What to do?

2 cups water
2 Tbs. wildflower honey (from this Adorable man at the Eastern Market)
1 Tbs. maple syrup (we are using up our grade A and are searching for a local grade B variety)
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed - reserving both the seeds and the pod
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (less if you find ginger to be strong)
Handful of blueberries
2 firm pears, cored with skins peeled off (skins and core can be composted or used as an ingredient to flavor the liquid)


1. Add all but the pears to pot appropriately sized to house the pears and bring to a boil.  (I used a high walled but small pot that made it easier to evenly cook the pears - however the lack of surface area caused the syrup to take longer to reduce).

2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and gently add the peeled pears (as they cook they will become easier to bruise).  Place a lid on the pot and let simmer for 20-30 minutes (I let them cook while I made dinner).  Alternately you could put them in an oven-safe pot and let them bake at 250 for several hours.

3. When pears are soft (20-30 minutes on stove top), gently remove them from the sauce and let them cool.  Strain out the solid contents and keep the liquid in the pot - placing over medium heat and allowing it to reduce (stirring regularly) to your desired syrup thickness - I like mine to coat a spoon.  Now - you can keep the blueberries to serve, but we composted ours - they looked too much like Violet Beauregarde for my taste.

4.  Spoon syrup over pears and serve.

Liquid reducing into a syrup
Sammit and I loved the taste of these - pears, honey, ginger with hints of cinnamon and specks of vanilla and blueberry - not to mention the gorgeous color.  A true compliment from Sammit is him remarking on the food without me having to ask if he likes it (he likes everything).  Not only did he think they were delicious, he suggested we serve them at a dinner party; we don't really have dinner parties, but the thought was touching and I'll put these on the short list of things to serve his parents someday.  We also both agreed that as long as it doesn't turn out I'm allergic to dairy, these would be fabulous with some real whipped cream or a dollop of ice cream.  And should I ever decide to get really crazy, I thought about coring ice cream and serving it INSIDE the pear.

Our final product

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