I was able to kill 2 birds w/ one stone… I’ve been wanting to try a new dessert recipe and at the same time try out some unusual vanilla beans that I received as a Christmas gift. I had a few friends over for dinner recently, so for dessert we had poached pears w/ a creme anglaise made w/ some of these unique vanilla beans. It was a great combination and a delicious finish to a fun evening! Next I will have to try another dish using the vanilla beans from Reunion Island. Stay tuned…
*Pears Poached in Red Wine w/ New Caledonian Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise
*pear recipe adapted from one developed by Beatrice Peltre
Ingredients (for the pears):
6 Bosc pears
1 cup sugar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle dry red wine
1) In a large bowl, combine the water and lime juice. Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. Cut a small slice from the base of each pear so the fruits sit without toppling. Drop each one into the water; set aside.
2) In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, sugar, anise, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
3) Add the pears and additional water to cover the pears. To keep the pears submerged in the poaching liquid, cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the saucepan and set it on the surface of the liquid. Place a small plate on top of the paper so it presses the pears into the liquid.
4) Simmer the pears for 25 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer. They may need 5 to 10 minutes longer if they were not ripe.
5) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Leave the fruit to cool completely in the poaching liquid.
6) Transfer the pears and their liquid to a large container. Refrigerate for at least several hours and as long as 3 days (the longer they steep in the liquid the darker and fuller flavored they will get).
Ingredients (for the creme anglaise):
4 New Caledonian vanilla beans (mine were small but for normal size beans use less)
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 pint half & half
1) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow.
2) Place half & half in a heavy pot and heat until scalded.
3) Very slowly whisk half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture.
4) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling.
5) Put the creme in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 6 servings
This was a delicious and light dessert. I hope you enjoy it. We sure did!