Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beaujolais Poached Pear with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Pear Puree

     I used to make a few fancy poached pear recipes in fine restaurants.  Poaching pears in red wine is a very nice way to prepare pears.  Pears poached in port wine, berry wines or sweet white wine like White Doe are fairly common desserts.  Dry wines impart a robust flavor.  Dry wines are usually only lightly sweetened when poaching pears.
     Beaujolais is a nice French red wine for poaching pears.  Beaujolais wine has a bare hint of licorice and berry flavors from the choice of grapes that are used to make the wine.  Gamay grapes are low in tannins, yet beaujolais wine can be fairly acidic.  The acidic nature of this wine allows the gamay grape flavor to easily penetrate a pear that is poached in this wine.  Winter spices and sugar are added to the beaujolais poaching liquid create a nice warm flavor.
     Half of the pear is poached and the other half of the pear is pureed in this recipe.  Adding a little bit of chocolate to the puree gives this dessert a very nice rich flavor.  Warm poached pear puree combined with melted chocolate produces a ganache like texture.  Water is the enemy of chocolate, so the pear puree cannot be loose or wet.
     Beaujolais Poached Pear:
     Peel 1 bosc pear, but leave the stem attached.
     Cut the pear in half.
     Leave the stem on one half.
     Use a spoon to neatly remove the seeds from both halves of the pear.
     Place the pear half that has the stem attached in a small sauce pot and reserved the other half of the pear for later in this recipe.
     Add 2 cups of French beaujolais wine.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of ground cinnamon.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 3 cloves.
     Add enough water to cover the pear in the sauce pot with 1" of extra liquid.
     Heat the poaching liquid over medium heat.
     As soon as the poaching liquid begins to gently boil, reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer the pear half, till it becomes tender but not soft.
     Remove the pear half from the poaching liquid.
     Cool the poaching liquid to room temperature.
     Chill the poaching liquid.
     Return the poached pear to the chill poaching liquid.
     Refrigerate for 1 hour.
     The pear can be poached ahead of time and keep it in a refrigerator till it is served.
     Chocolate Pear Puree:
     Use the half of the pear that has no stem attached to make this recipe.
     Finely chop the seeded trimmed pear half.
     Place the chopped pear in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Place the sauce pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer the chopped pea,r till it becomes very tender.
     Add a splash of water as necessary if the liquid becomes dry.
     Pour the chopped pear and the liquid into a fine mesh strainer.
     Press the soft pear through the strainer with a spoon into a small bowl.
     Return the strained pear puree to a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of brandy.
     Simmer and reduce, till a thick puree is formed.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1 ounce of bitter sweet dark chocolate.
     Stir the puree as the chocolate melts.
     As soon as the chocolate melts and combines with the puree, remove the pot from the heat.
     The puree should become a medium sauce consistency.  Little bits of the strained pear should be visible in the puree.
     Keep the chocolate pear puree warm on a stove top..
     Beaujolais Poached Pear with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Pear Puree:
     Chill a shallow dessert bowl in a freezer.
     Remove the pear half from the poaching liquid and place it on a cutting board.
     Bias slice the poached pear so it is fanned.  Leave the fanned slices attached to the stem end of the pear.
     Place the poached pear in the chilled dessert bowl and fan the pear open.
     Place a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream next to the fanned poached pear.
     Spoon the chocolate pear puree partially over the ice cream.
     Garnish the ice cream with a little bit of fresh lemon zest.
     The deep wine flavor of the poached pear is delicious with vanilla bean ice cream.  The chocolate pear puree is sinfully rich.  The chocolate has a fruity pear flavor.  This is a nice dessert that is fairly easy to make.  Yummy!  ...  Shawna        

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