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.
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.
French Earl Grey Poached Pears
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)
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.