Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Happy New Year! Again, it has been longer than I would like since my last past, and as a result, one of my resolutions is to pick back up the pace of my posts to at least once a week.

Note: For some reason, the pictures I took of this dessert seem to be missing. Instead of putting off posting, I decided to go ahead, and I will add the pictures in later.

I decided to celebrate the end of fall with a pear dessert since pears are really only worth eating in the fall. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with pears. When they’re good, they’re great. It’s really easy, however, to get pears that are either too soft, or too mealy. My approach to the dessert was three different pears five different ways.

The focal point of the of the dessert is the sake poached bosc pear. Bosc pears are good for poaching because they don’t let go of their water as much as many other varieties, so they don’t shrink during the cooking process. I took a bit of a gamble by poaching them in sake as opposed to wine, because despite the fact that sake is called “rice wine,” the flavor it brings is far different. The result, happily, was a pear that kept its delicate flavor, while picking up some of the dryness of the sake.

For the second iteration of pear, I took the poaching liquid from the pears, reduced it down, and made a caramel out of it by adding some extra sugar, bringing it up to around 320°, and adding scalded cream and sake to make a complex caramel sauce that has a strong taste of sake and also a slight fruitiness that is distinctly pear.

The third variety of pear is a pear galette, which is simply puff pastry, topped with sliced pear, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar. When they bake, the pears –bartlet this time—wilt down a little bit, but keep all of their flavor. I chose bartlet pears for the galette because I think they have the fullest flavor, and are [fairly] consistent.

The fourth preparation for the pears is another taken from the pages of Keegan Gerhard: a sweet-and-sour roasted pear (though I don’t know if he would necessarily describe it that way). For this I used the little Forelle pears, which taste similar to a bartlet, but are only about a third the size, and made sure that they were a little on the hard side. I roasted them in palm sugar and butter in a 300ish oven, cored and skin on, but with a few slits poked in the sides, moving them around the pan every 20 minutes or so. After about an hour and a half, I added a sprinkle of yuzu juice, to add that distinct tartness.

The final style of pear is a simple pear chip (you will notice that it is missing in the picture). To make the chips, I took the left over Bartlett pears, sliced them very thinly, and lay them out on a silpat. They dry out in a low oven (150°) for 2-3 hours, and then are ready to go.

Of course, in keeping with my obsession over brown butter, the dessert wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a scoop of brown butter ice cream.

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