Sunday, April 02, 2006

something out of nothing: poached pears

When I read Lindy from Toast proposing a blogging event titled, to make something from nothing, I was intrigued. Having finished school not so long ago, I definitely understood financial constraints. I have enjoyed fine dining when I have been able to afford it; however, I have found solace in foods that are tasty, cheap, cheerful and comforting. So, I appreciated Lindy’s concept of putting together a collection of recipes that are enjoyable, affordable, and creative and was up for the challenge of trying to make fantastic eats for little money! I decided not to buy any ingredients and instead used what was in my kitchen. I had 3 pears sitting in my fruit bowl; so poached pears it was! This recipe is simple, cost effective, and good for any occasion.

poached pear with spiced granitè and honey

poached pears

4 pears, peeled and cored.
You can cut the pears in half to core them. Or, you can use a whole pear and dig out the core from the blossom end with a melon baller or apple corer, leaving the pear in tact. The latter method works best when poaching pears.

poaching liquid (enough for 4 pears)

3/4 cup sugar
3 cups water
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 cardamom pod, broken open
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean (cut length wise)

Add all the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil. Take off the stove, and let sit for 10 minutes or until semi-cool. Add peeled and cored pears to the poaching liquid and simmer with a piece of parchment paper over top of the pears, so that no oxidization occurs. Poach pears for 20 – 30 minutes or until tender and soft to touch. Take off the heat, and let sit for another 10 – 15 minutes before removing pears. Serve pears once they have cooled, or leave the pears in the fridge soaking in the poaching liquid, tightly covered, until needed or for up to two days.

so there’s no waste: a granitè from your poaching liquid

If you would like to make a granitè with the remaining poaching liquid, sieve out the spices, and pour liquid into a flat shallow container to cool. Freeze, covered, until frozen. Use a fork to scrape the ice into small shards. Transfer the granitè to a plastic container and keep frozen until ready to use. If you don’t want the granitè to melt too quickly, try chilling your glasses or bowls in the freezer. Then, serve a lovely poached pear with the granitè. Whether it is a casual or fancy affair, poached pears are always simple and elegant.

*Note: If you have some leftover wine, substitute half the water in the poaching liquid for wine. You’ll then have poached pears in wine with a wine granitè – yum.


linda said...

Beautiful dish and photo!

Ivonne said...

There is such beauty in simplicity!

Wonderful, Sam!

Kimberly said...

Lovely photo, Sam! And the pears sound wonderful.

sam said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks for your comment. I've added you to my blog roll.

Hi Ivonne,
Thanks for all your comments! I appreciate your encouragement and feedback.

Hi Kimberly,
Thanks for visting. I enjoyed your soup post as well.

Tania said...

Lovely, Sam! How clever (and delicious) to use the poaching liquid for a granita!

rob said...

Sam, making a granita from the poaching liquid is such a good idea. We made poached pears for Sugar High Friday a couple of months ago, and we had a lot of poaching liquid that went unused. This would have been such a great way to use it.

sam said...

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your comment. It seems like such a waste not to use the poaching liquid, especially when it has the right ratios for a granita.

News Kitten said...

I'm a Canadian living in London (England) and I love pears -- was hungry for poached pears tonight but had no idea how to make googled 'poached pears' and eventually came to your site. I love this recipe -- simple and good. And from a fellow Canadian, so even better. Mine are cooling as we speak and I'm going to eat them with vanilla ice-cream in about five minutes...

Anonymous said...

Hi, found your blog while I was googling for a poached pear recipe that didn't use wine. Made your recipe yesterday for lunch. The pears were fine lovely wonderful. Poached pears, always good, never exciting. But the granita! Wow good. Thanks

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site... »

John Donohue said...

Hi Sam,

Your recipe and the picture inspired me while surfing for poached pears recipes. I'm making the dish to serve with an extraordinary dessert wine for an important family reunion and birthday dinner April 28th.

Please don't be upset that I captured your 'something from nothing' driven dish for a lavish meal...we are definitely more in your vein than extravigant; this is a specal occasion.

I'll send you a photo after the event.

John Donohue

Anonymous said...

This is by far the best poached pear recipe I've ever come across, and tasted! Just awesome. This will definitely be my dessert of choice from here on it. THANK YOU SAM!

Roy Lofquist said...

Try a heaping tablespoon of instant coffee in the liquor. Different and delicious.