Poaching fruit could be the easiest way to put a homemade dessert on a table. Only requiring coring and peeling fruit, heating poaching liquid, and letting it simmer, poaching not only keeps it quick and simple, it makes it possible to celebrate the season’s harvest after the dinner is served. I like to top the fruit with a simple sauce.
Here I use a dark chocolate sauce. When poured over and around the pear poached with spices, it brings out the simple flavors of the fruit and its poaching liquid without overdoing it. The sauce is made a little richer with butter, and uses very little sweetener since the fruit holds its own.
Poached Pears & Chocolate
4 pears (Bartlett or Warren preferred)
juice of 1/2 a lemon (to prevent browning)
For poaching liquid:
8 cups water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 star anise
8 cardonmon pods
3 sticks cinnamon
For chocolate sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup high-quality cocoa powder
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons poaching liquid
3 tablespoons corn syrup
Peel and core the pears. Cut in half lengthwise. To keep pears from browning until ready to poach, put in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the fruit and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Bring the poaching liquid ingredients in a large saucepan to a boil. Once boiled, bring to a simmer, add the pears, and discard the water and lemon juice mixture the pears were soaking in to prevent browning. Cook for 8 to 15 minutes, until when pierced with a fork, the fork easily comes out (how long this takes will depend on the pear variety and ripeness). Save 3 tablespoons of the poaching liquid, remove the pears from the liquid and let them cool. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Heat the chocolate sauce ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk until melted. Set aside.
When ready to serve, bring the pears to room temperature if refrigerated, put two pear halves on a plate, and spoon the chocolate sauce over the fruit.
chocolate, dessert, pear
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