French Earl Grey Poached Pears

May 3, 2011

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I’m such a sucker for impulsive purchases. Story of my life really; a handful of unworn dresses many with the tags still intact, shoes that have pounded the pavement just once, neglected bags crumpled at the back of my cupboard including, horribly enough, a beloved designer number that hasn’t been out of its dustbag more than twice. Oh and fruits. You guys are going to lynch me for this but I’m just prone to buying bargain priced produce on a whim only to forget about them. That is, until I have to throw their mouldy asses into the trash. It’s a crazy bad habit and I need to be punished for it severely. I’m getting better now I promise you.

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But there was no way i could forget about these babies. A quick race through my grocer was halted by the $2 shelf and lo and behold! A giant bag of the most teeny tiny, miniature paradise pears that I’ve ever seen; small enough to fit on a teaspoon, teensy cores and so freaking adorable. Have you ever seen a girl squeal at pears at your local supermarket? Well the good people of ‘The Wood’ sure have now!

I knew I wanted to poach some of them but I was so over wine/honey/spiced pears. This is a brilliant alternative and perfect for those of you who are less enthused about wine or alcohol based desserts. The pears were poached in a basic sweet tea with only a hint of vanilla to round off any bitterness from the strong brew. The result was the most beautiful ambrosial flavour; heady but ‘clean’, deliciously fragrant and floral and it really allowed the pear to shine.

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My favourite to use is T2’s French Earl Grey, an awesome blend of bergamot, peach, citrus, apricot, rose, sunflower and hibiscus. In other words, AMAZING. I mean you should really smell this stuff. But feel free to substitute with any of your favourite teas. Think plain ol’ bergamot, jasmine or oolong to name a few but on one condition. It has to be ‘pretty’ and fragrant. I demand fragrance!

From there, how you choose to demolish these pears is up to you. I like the quick approach with maximum gratification – dipped in melted Callebaut chocolate and topped with crunchy chocolate granola and a dash of cream. But if an ever quicker fix is all you need, I highly recommend a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with the pears finished off with a dash of the poaching syrup for good measure.

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French Earl Grey Poached Pears


(Printable recipe)


Ingredients

1L water
125g caster sugar
20g tea leaves (I used T2 French Earl Grey)
1 strip of lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
20-25 small Paradise Pears (or however many you can fit in your pot in a single layer)

Method

Combine the water, sugar, tea leaves, lemon peel and vanilla extract in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse.

In the meantime, peel your paradise pears but leave the stalks intact. If your pears were miniature like mine then best to leave it whole unless you have a teeny tiny corer.

Strain the tea mixture into another small pot then lower the pears into the poaching liquid, stalks pointing up. Make sure that they’re all in a single layer and are fully submerged up to the stalk in the liquid. Bring back to a boil then reduce the heat again and simmer pears gently for about 10 minutes (depending on the size of your Paradise Pears).

Pears are ready when a skewer pierces through the soft pear flesh easily (remember to skewer from the bottom).

Remove from heat and leave the pears to cool down in the syrup (note the longer you soak the pears, the darker the colour). Turn pears occasionally so it’ll colour evenly. Once cooled, you can store in the fridge.

Serve cool with ice cream, granola, oats, dipped in chocolate, however you like! If you wish, you boil up the remaining poaching liquid (remember to strain it first) until reduced and slightly syrupy.

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