Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Wishes with a recipe

Well, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas, and secular happiness to all! I have more making things excitement for you, but, in honor of the holiday season, that will wait a bit.

My big 'family' celebration was last night. My older stepbrother had returned home from a multi-month-long trip around South America early (as in, 1am), so our happily blended family was all present for, I believe, our first Christmas together. Since my stepfather is ethnically Jewish and my mother and I aren't really all that Christian, our Christmas celebration was much more about family than Jesus. Personally, that's just fine with me. We had a very large, wonderful meal, a wonderful desert, and opened presents. I made half of the desert, and as a holiday treat, I'm going to include my (mostly made up, partly adapted from a bajillian sources) recipe for you.

Our menu:
Wilted spinach salad with canadian bacon, shallots, and a reduced balsamic vinaigrette
Roast beef tenderloin
Tomato Maidera Coulis
Roasted fingerling potatoes
Broiled tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs and herbs

And, for desert:
Chocolate soufflé and chai poached pairs with cream sauce

Now, for the recipe!

Chai Poached Pears with Cream Sauce
serves 6 (or as many as you please)
For the pears:
  • 6 pears, preferably Bosc
  • either 1 teabag or 1.5 tsp looseleaf Chai per pear (so, in this case, 6 teabags, or 3Tbsps chai)
  • 1/4 cup sugar or less per pear (so, in this case, 1 1/2 cups sugar)
  • 1 cup water per pear (so, in this case, 6 cups water)
The pears are very easy to make.
  1. Peel the pears. You may core them if you really want, but the desert is most attractive when you do not core them and when you leave the stem in.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Once water is boiling, steep teabags for 5 minutes. If using looseleaf tea, use a paper tea filter or some other contraption to allow you to remove the leaves once done steeping. After 5 minutes, remove tea.
  4. Add sugar and bring to a low boil.
  5. Once mixture is boiling, add pears. Reduce temperature to 'low' or such that pears can simmer.
  6. Let pears cook at least 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure liquid does not completely boil down, and when checking, roll pears over on their sides.
  7. Remove 2 cups of poaching liquid, and, in a separate saucepan, reduce. You may use this, reduced, as a sauce if you do not want to make the cream sauce. It will still be delicious.

For the cream sauce:
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 or 2 oranges worth of zest, reserve some
  • 5 slices of candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups reserved poaching liquid
  1. Mince candied ginger.
  2. Combine ginger, honey, first portion of zest, and cream. Heat on the stove until honey is melted. Do not let cream boil.
  3. Simultaneously, cook poaching liquid to a boil and let it reduce.
  4. Once poaching liquid is reduced enough for your taste, lower the heat, and pour the poaching liquid into the cream mixture, stirring constantly.
To plate: In a bowl, place 1 pear per person. Pour cream sauce into dish. Finish with a pinch of the reserved orange zest, and, if you'd like, a drizzle of honey and a sprig of mint.

That's it! The pears are a very delicious and simple desert by themselves, but the cream sauce makes them a little more fancy for special occasions. As a big chai drinker I tend to have many different kinds lying around, and if you are able to choose, I'd recommend a chai with a hearty dose of cardamom and pepper. (If your family is adventurous, or loves heat the way mine does, the pears also are delicious with a grinding of black pepper.) Enjoy!

1 comment:

Maeve said...

i want to make this.