Sunday, May 25, 2014

Earl Grey Poached Pears

Poached pears are a very easy and rather humble dessert but what I like most about them is that they can be jazzed up very simply with just a slight change in your recipe and the addition of a little something extra on your plate. You can get so creative with the flavours, "the possibilities are endless" as Michael Smith loves to say! 
Earl Grey is one of my favourite flavours and it works really well not only in the poaching liquid for these pears but even more so in that delicious hazelnut crumble. I really enjoyed this combination of these flavours which truly elevated this simple dessert to something just a little more decadent. 

What you'll need:
(serves 2)

2 pears, peeled
3 cups water
3 bags of earl grey tea 
1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey

Toasted Hazelnut Crumble

Place hazelnuts in a single layer in a flat pan. 
Toast on medium - high until they turn a darker colour and the skins begin to blister and crack (you’ll be able to smell the difference). Once they’ve changed in colour and smell nice and toasty take off the heat and bundle inside a clean kitchen towel to cool. 
Once cooled, gently massage the closed bundle, forcing the nuts to rub against one another and the skins to flake off. (Not all of the skin will come off and this is okay} 
Set the skinned hazelnuts aside and start on your caramel.  

Carefully melt sugar and honey in a separate pot on a low setting and watch as it changes colour. 
Once it’s reached a dark mahogany and smells almost like burnt sugar turn off the heat and add in the toasted hazelnuts and sprinkle in a pinch of loose tea leaves (optional). 
Pour onto a greased non stick surface and place in the fridge to cool. 
This caramel is VERY hot so be careful not to touch it before it's cooled completely. 

Poached Pears

Bring water, sugar and tea bags to a boil. Add in the peeled pears, making sure they are completely submerged in the water. lower the temperature and let simmer for about 30 - 40min or until a knife can be easily poked through the bottom, thick part of the pear. (This may take longer depending on the size of your pears. Cut them in half to help reduce the cooking time.)

Let cool for at least 10 minutes in the poaching liquid. The longer they sit in this liquid the more flavour they will absorb which makes these great for a make ahead dessert or even breakfast. 

You can further make a sauce to serve your pears with, by reducing the poaching liquid. Simply pour your tea infused liquid back into a saucepan and allow to simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes or until it reduces by at least half. 
Let cool, pour over that yummy fruit and enjoy.

There are so many ways you can switch up this recipe. Get creative! Try out different teas or throw in some vanilla and cinnamon. Serve with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Go more savoury with red wine and mulling spices. The options are truly endless!

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