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Posts Tagged ‘Poached pears’

Pears poached in bay and balsamic

The classic combination of sweet pears and salty ham. This makes a nice winter starter for entertaining guests and you can poach the pears in advance so there’s not too much to do when they arrive.

Wine Suggestion: with the combination of fruity/sweet pear and the salty ham this choice wasn’t immediately obvious, but an inspired guess lead us to Sparkling Moscato. We had a bottle of the Quady Electra, a Moscato from California that danced with this dish but you may find it easier to get a Moscato d’Asti (the most famous region for this style) or a local equivalent. The Moscato is low alcohol, and refreshingly fruity so perfect to start off a lengthy meal.

Pears poached in bay & balsamic with serrano ham – serves 4 as a starter

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 80ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 pears
  • 4 large slices of Serrano ham
  • 2 large handfuls of salad leaves
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Put 600ml of water into a saucepan over a medium heat with the sugar, vinegar and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan but keep a careful eye on them as they turn from golden to blackened in the blink of an eye.

Peel the pears and try to leave the stalks intact. Trim the bases a little so they stand up nicely. Add the pears to the liquid and simmer until tender, turning them over in the liquid now and then. This can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes (depending on the size and ripeness of your pears) so you will need to keep a watchful eye. Remove from the liquid and allow to cool, then wrap each one in a slice of ham.

Season the liquid with salt and plenty of black pepper, then boil until it becomes a thick syrup.

Arrange the salad leaves on 4 serving plates. Put a pear on top of each and scatter over the toasted pine nuts. Mix the balsamic syrup with the tablespoon of olive oil and drizzle over the top.

(Original recipe from Herbs by Judith Hann, Watkins Media Ltd., 2017.)

 

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Saffron & cardamom poached pears

This is a touch of luxury, truly delicious, impressive, and yet very simple to do. Eat with a spoon of crème fraîche. The perfect ending to a Middle Eastern inspired meal.

Poached pears in white wine & cardamom – serves 4

  • 500ml dry white wine
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 15 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 firm pears, peeled
  • crème fraîche or thick double cream to serve

Pour the wine and lemon juice into a medium saucepan and add the sugar, cardamom, saffron and salt. Bring to a light simmer and place the pears in the liquid. Make sure the pears are immersed by adding a bit of water if necessary. Cover the surface with a disc of greaseproof paper and simmer until the pears are cooked through but not mushy, about 15-25 minutes. Turn the pears around every now and again as they cook. When a knife goes into the flesh smoothly, the pears are done.

Remove from the liquid and transfer into four dishes. Increase the heat and reduce the liquid by about two-thirds, or until thick and syrupy. Pour over the pears and leave to cool. Serve cold or at room temperature with the crème fraîche.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottololenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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