Wading in a pool of abstraction © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Leslie's quarantined poached pears with saffron and cinnamon

Leslie made the most exquisite dessert last night.

I asked her if I could take a picture and she declined, so pardon me but this will be all visuals. Last week I asked her if she would poach some pears for me. The greatest dessert I ever ate was a poached pear chocolate crème fraîche number in the Cayman Islands. I used to scuba dive down there in another life. Long ago but the memories will last forever.

The restaurant was owned and operated by the great German television cook, Chef Tell, do you remember him? Anyway I think that pear desserts are the best of them all when done right.

She bought both bosc and d'anjou pears at the market this week and looked at various recipes online but ended up doing something out of her head. Last night, she combined the pears with cardamom, cinnamon stick, saffron, lemon juice, ginger, dried orange peel, vanilla bean and sugar in a large pot. Poached them to the perfect moment. Topped it all off with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

The kitchen and our whole home smelled so divine while she was cooking. The poaching liquid stirred by the large cinnamon stick was a beautiful dark amber color. The rich spicy fragrance was beyond compare.

We finished up the lamb stew with potatoes and vegetables topped with parsley from Friday and the remaining charoset for our dinner. The flavors of both dishes had melded and tasted even better the second night. We ate some of our precious (and dwindling) les pres de sales butter on matzoh as an accompaniment. Seder 2.0.

The dessert was unbelievable. The flavors and texture of the two pears were so different, the d'anjou much sweeter, the bosc much crisper. I like the pearing pairing idea, oops, no pun intended. Wonderful to have the variety. This is a nice thing to do when you have bought pears and they have sat too long and look funky and you don't want to eat them because of the bruising. You end up throwing them away. It makes no difference whatsoever when they are cooked.

I had questioned the addition of the saffron while she was cooking but she was right once again, the saffron and the cardamom added a lovely little spicy kick. The chocolate was totally unnecessary and we both agreed that we would not add that to this dish again. Still an A+.

We are going to do it again soon. Perhaps with puff pastry. Next time I will grab a picture. As I said last night, someday I am going to look back at this quarantine and there will be things that I miss. Like this dessert. Confinement doesn't have to be hell.


Blumoon said...

Sounds incredible...would love the recipe. Best pear I ever ste was off a road in southern France. Ate it w fresh goat cheese and crusty bread...

Blue Heron said...

Leslie says "Nice!"

Wilbur Norman said...

When I was involved in a restaurant in Philadelphia in the 1980s (and used to occasionally eat at Chef Tell's) one of our best selling desserts was a poached pear in creme anglaise drizzled with a wine-based sauce. To this day I am surprised I don't weigh 300 pounds!

Blue Heron said...

Wow,sounds wonderful Wilbur. My favorite fruit is a fresh perfect peach but I favor pear for dessert.

Liz said...

The only way I like pears is poached. I love them poached but never do them. I am jealous.

Not as depressed today as I was yesterday.

Love you

Blue Heron said...

I don't think a good pear gets the love it deserves. I used to even enjoy them out of cans, not that people do that sort of thing anymore...