Adventures in Eating: Poached Pears
by Rosemarie | February 1984
There is no question about it! Desserts will always be my favorite food. Obviously, this poses a problem of dimensions… mainly weight and weight. No matter. I enjoy observing people’s eating habits, and am convinced there are more like me out there. Ever notice how crowded the dessert table is at a buffet?
You guessed it. This month’s recipe is a dessert graciously given to me by our new in-law’s (Dr. Betty Ann Ottinger) housekeeper. Thanksgiving found us enjoying their hospitality in Washington, D.C. and Pili fed us royally. She served her poached pear dish with butterscotch sauce after a delicious roast beef dinner. How smoothly it ended our meal. You’ll love it, and what a convenient do ahead dessert.
POACHED PEARS WITH VANILLA BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE – PILI
12 pears, D’Anjou variety
4 c. sugar
1 vanilla bean (very important)
1 cinnamon stick
juice of 1/2 lemon
Prepare a bowl filled with water and some lemon juice in it. Peel pears and place in bowl until all the fruit is peeled. This prevents their browning. Place the pears in a saucepan, (reserving the lemon water) cover with water. Take pears out and save them in the lemon-water. Add sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, juice of 1/2 lemon, and cloves to the water in the saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil (about 15 minutes). Put pears back into the sugar mixture, and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until pears are cooked (test one with a fork). Do not overcook and get them mushy. Let them rest in the juice to cool. Cut in half, clean out center, and put back in juice.
Sauce: In another saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter (1 cube). Scrape seeds from 1 split vanilla bean and add, along with scraped pod. Stir. Stir in 1 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 2 T. light corn syrup. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook, stirring just until sugar melts. DO NOT OVER COCK at this point. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream and return to a gentle simmer, and stir just until the mixture has blended. Not much cooking is required here either. Makes about 2 cups.
When ready to serve, place pears on a large platter, cut side up, and pass to guests. Put sauce in a separate bowl and let guests use as they please.
Finger lickin’ good.