Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fall Pears

I wasn't impressed with this summer's peach crop (just as a reminder for our north american friends we already had our first summer). On the other hand, the fall pears have been amazing. I love sweet cold pears with lemon squeezed on them. Oh, come on...just try it.

However, we tasted true pear delight our last night in Salto when we ordered peras al vino blanco. They were drizzled with a fresh blueberry sauce (the farm is just a few kilometers away), topped with pralines, and served with ice cream.


This delicacy actually seems simple enough to make. For those of you handy in the kitchen, here is a recipe by one of my favourite food performers:

Vanilla Poached Pears
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
1 (750-ml) bottle white wine, Riesling or Viognier
1 cup water
5 ounces vanilla sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 firm Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled leaving the stem intact
Place the white wine, water, sugar and vanilla bean and pulp into a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Core the pears from the bottom. Decrease the heat to medium low and place the pears into the liquid, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the pears are tender but not falling apart. Maintain a gentle simmer. Remove the pears to a serving dish, standing them upright, and place in the refrigerator.

Remove the vanilla bean from the saucepan, increase the heat to high and reduce the syrup to approximately 1 cup of liquid, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Do not allow the syrup to turn brown. Place the syrup in a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 1 hour.

Remove the pears from the refrigerator, spoon the sauce over the pears and serve.


la vieja said...

Another variation you may enjoy.
I poach the pears in halves just until tender. To serve fan out on rimmed dish after slicing partially through from bottom and pressing gently. This creates an impressive and delicious presentation. Enjoy!!
Pears in Red Wine
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
4 firm but ripe pears, peeled, stems left intact
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 plain or almond biscotti, crumbled
Orange peel strips (optional)
Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Add pears and return mixture to simmer. Reduce heat and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes. Transfer pears to plate. Boil liquid in saucepan until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill pears in poaching liquid. Before serving, rewarm over medium-low heat until pears are heated through.)
Arrange 1 warm pear and 1 scoop of ice cream on each of 4 plates. Drizzle some poaching liquid over. Sprinkle with biscotti crumbs. Garnish with orange peel strips, if desired, and serve.

La Gaucha Guapa said...

La Vieja, Thank you so much for the recipe. I will definitely try it, as my husband was curious about pears poached in red wine rather than white. Thank you for your comment.