Poached pear is a perfect fall dessert; classic and elegant and surprisingly easy to make. My home was a spot of delight, with the warm sweet aroma of the poaching pears dancing in every corner.
While the pears poached I walked around my home, happy and almost tipsy with the smell of spices. For the first time this year, I could smell the autumn in the air. The pears simmered, the liquid bubbled and got syrupy and I peeked in to the pan and tasted a few spoons of the poaching liquid-ah! a divine experience so to speak. After this the warm chocolate sauce happened. There was enough excitement going on; a dessert full of passion.
There is something about the pears that makes me want to do so much with them. They come in so many kinds, so many colors and shapes…
and as much as I like them raw, I love them poached even more – the enhanced sweet, the tenderness and the lovely aroma of the spices that come along with the poaching are the irresistible. We poach pears often, but when I encountered Helene’s Poire Belle Helene (and such a lovely name too), I felt that immediate need to have them done with chocolate sauce, and I mean I had to do them right away. Some food just appeal to me this way, with urgency, as if my life would not be if I did not have them “now”, and this surely had to be one of them. It was a love at first sight,(and a love to stay) even before I started reading through the recipe.
Meanwhile someone else found something else irresistible while I was taking photographs. My 4 year old who started off with nonchalantly looking at the pears and then licking the spoon dipped in chocolate sauce (with my permission) with a definite shine in her eyes, polished off almost all of the sauce while I was busy. She told me she “could not help it“, when I gasped as I stared at the empty bowl in disbelief!
However complex it looks, it falls in the category of “quick desserts” ; no baking, no resting, neither does it need exotic ingredients. It takes less than half an hour to poach the pears -
and a few more minutes to make the most sinful chocolate sauce.
With some lightly toasted nuts and cream you are ready for an incredible journey.
Recipe adapted from Tartelette.
Spiced Poached Pear with Chocolate Sauce
- 3-4 pears, peeled
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 5-6 cloves
- 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into tiny pieces
- 2 tablespoons citrus zest (orange/lime or both mixed)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
For the chocolate sauce:
- 4 oz semisweet good quality chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons citrus zest (optional)
Lightly toasted Walnuts (or any nuts of your choice) and Ice Cream/Whipped Cream for garnish and to serve with
Preparing the pears:
Peel the pears keeping the stems intact. In a deep non reactive pot, combine the orange juice, water and sugar & bring to a boil. Add the zest, spices, lemon juice, ginger.
Simmer the liquid at low heat for about 7-10 minutes. Place the pears in the liquid and let them simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pears are just tender (poke with a toothpick to check). When done they should be tender but not mushy and falling apart.
Remove from the poaching using a slotted spoon and allow to cool on paper towel. (you can save the liquid to use it to top the pear if you do not have any sauce to go with it).
Preparing the chocolate sauce:
Place the chocolate and zest in a non reactive bowl.
In a thick bottomed saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the cream and honey to a boil and a strong simmer.
Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate and zest. Let sit for 5 minutes then slowly stir until the mixture comes together. There will be no lumps of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl.
(I have a feeling I simmered the cream longer than it was supposed to be, for the sauce looked thicker than the original version)
Assembling the pear and the sauce:
Serve pear (at room temperature or slightly warm) with warm chocolate sauce over it or with ice cream/whipped cream and pear and chocolate sauce.
(Note: I did not make Helene’s Ice Cream. Served mine with fresh whipped cream which you don’t see here. We did not have the patience to take photographs when we were ready to eat)
Delicious is an understatement. Heavenly would describe it better.
Whipped cream, pear and the chocolate sauce – delicate, beautiful and soul satisfying…..
You can poach the pears ahead of time and then serve cold or warm them with the syrup over the stove or the microwave for a few minutes. If you are serving with whipped cream, try not to warm the pears as the heat tends to split the cream.
Headed over to Nupur’s Blog Bites 9: The Holiday Buffet.