Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Poached Pears with Caramelized Raspberry Sauce

I just wanted to post this real quick, as it used to be a regular around here whenever I did special or fancy dinners (Thanksgiving or New Years especially), but I haven't made it in years and years.  I made it for Easter this past week and fell in love with it all over again. 
It's a treat for a special, sweet fruit side dish, or perfect for a dessert.

And for the first time, because I actually have these things as staples in my kitchen now -I guess I've "matured" as a cook?- as opposed to when we were first married and I used to make this, I used a real vanilla bean and actual cinnamon sticks, and OH MY GOODNESS.  The difference was amazing.  Don't get me wrong, using vanilla extract and ground cinnamon certainly produces a perfectly yummy sauce... it's just that I was actually impressed with the difference this time.  It just took it beyond the Mmmm, to the Mmmmmmmmm. :)

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water, champagne, or dry white or red wine 
(I've used champagne once, water every other time.  I'm happy with water)
1/2 vanilla bean, split down the middle, or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
(oops, I used a whole bean this last time.  oh well, it was extra yummy!)
1 cinnamon stick
8 large firm-ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and left whole with the stem on 
(I always go ahead and core them... usually cutting them into halves as well. Whole would just make for a prettier, fancy presentation)
1 cup frozen raspberries

-In large saucepan, deep enough so pears can stand up when covered, mix sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over high heat.

-Reduce heat to low and add pears, standing up. Cover pot and let simmer about 30 min, gently turning the pears once or twice to make sure they're coated with the sugar syrup.  Pears are done when they feel tender throughout when tested with a small, sharp knife. Remove from heat.

-Add frozen berries to the sauce, cover and let sit 5 minutes.

-Remove the pears and berries with slotted spoon and place in serving dish or deep plate.  Strain the syrup and pour over the tops of the pears, let cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

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