Looking for a dessert that looks impressive while being easy to prepare? Poached pears are the answer, especially if you cook them sous vide. In this innovative method, the temperature is kept very low, guaranteeing a beautifully soft-textured result every time.
- 2 comice pears
- 100ml of sugar syrup
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- Preheat the water bath to a temperature of 80⁰C.
- Remove the pears’ skins, then halve them, scoop out the seeds with melon baller and cut out the central core with a sharp knife.
- Seal the pear halves inside a vacuum bag with the sugar syrup and vanilla seeds.
- Place in the water bath and leave to cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on ripeness. The riper the fruit, the less time it will take to cook. To test if the pears are cooked, give the fruit a gentle squeeze: if it feels soft, it is ready.
- Empty the vacuum bag and drain off the poaching liquid, then serve the pears. If desired, reserve some of the poaching liquid for use as a sauce.
To make a basic sugar syrup, mix some caster sugar with an equal amount of water and heat until the sugar has fully dissolved. This syrup can used for a variety of purposes and will keep for up to 1 month, so you could make it in large batches in advance.
If not serving straight away, chill the pears immediately after cooking by plunging the sealed vacuum bag into iced water, then refrigerate until needed. The pears will be delicious cold but they can also be reheated if you want to serve them warm.
Give the sugar syrup a richer taste and a golden colour by making it with honey, demerara or molasses sugar.
For extra flavour, you could also mix the syrup with a sweet white wine, verjus, red wine or port reduction. To make the reduction, simmer your chosen alcohol over a gentle heat until it has reduced by half – this will give an intense concentrated flavour.
You can also flavour the pears by adding herbs and spices to the vacuum bag. Rosemary and thyme would give a delicate aroma or, for a hint of warmth, try adding star anise, cloves or cinnamon. A slice of citrus peel would also work well.
For a simple but stunning dessert, try Adam Gray’s Spiced poached pears with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. If you fancy something slightly more unusual, you might like to make Steve Drake’s fragrant Poached pears with chocolate and coriander.
Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com