Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ginger & Vanilla Cider Poached Pears

I had some friends come and visit (one an executive chef) and I wanted to prepare a simple, elegant dessert that would not heat up my kitchen, these poached pears were just perfect! The right amount of sweetness to end a meal and so easy to prepare. They also have a certain wow factor that make anyone you serve them to feel so special. The ginger is spicy and fragrant and  the vanilla is sweet and floral, together they create a wonderful rich flavored sauce that is amazing with the super sweet pears. The pears poach for about 20 minutes soaking up the flavors of the cider, vanilla and ginger and then the sauce is cooked down with some honey and a touch of butter to make a thick caramel, easy and beautiful! I like to sprinkle the pears with some toasted almonds for a bit of crunch and salt.

This recipe makes 6 pears.


6 Organic pears, whatever are in season are the best, you want firm slightly under ripe ones.

1 Hunk fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, mine was the size of my thumb.

1 Vanilla bean, sliced in half

5 Black peppercorns

3 Cups apple cider

2 Tbsp local honey

1 Tbsp pasture raised butter

6 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted, 1 Tbsp for each pear.


Peal the pears.

In a large sauce pan place the cider, ginger, vanilla bean, black peppercorns and the 6 pears. I lay mine down on their sides and cover them all with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the top of the pan. This prevents the pears from discoloring and turning brown.

Heat the liquid over medium high heat till simmering and then turn down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, turn the pears and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pears pierce easily with a butter knife, you want them soft but not falling apart.

Remove the pears and set them in a refrigerator while you cook the sauce. Remove the vanilla bean, ginger and peppercorns. Cook the sauce over high heat for 10 minutes, add in the honey and cook for another 5 minutes or until it becomes thick like maple syrup. Remove from heat, whisk the butter in and pour the sauce into a serving bowl.

To serve: cut off the bottom of each pear, just so that it will stand up. Place the pear on a small dessert plate, ladle with warm sauce and sprinkle with almonds. Enjoy!

You can also serve the pears with crumbles of a sharp goat or blue cheese, or a scoop of lemon sorbet is also a great flavor contrast.

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