Poached pears in spicy Moscato and silky chocolate ganache

What matters to you most when having dinner with others –  great food or a great company?

I’ve been asked that a lot, so the situation is usually something like this: When I’m invited to dinner I always bring something I cooked or baked. My mother has taught me to never visit friends or family empty-handed.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

So good friends of ours invited us for Thanksgiving dinner and here is the problem:  I usually eat at home before I go. I am not being rude, I simply do not eat the food that’s been served because…well…some of my friends, as hilarious as they are, simply don’t know how to cook. I’ll nibble here and there sure and I will also admit, that while I’m very social and love to meet people, I find myself hard to impress when it comes to food. Wow! I think I just became my mother.

delicious poached pears with chocolate glaze

Listen, cooking is not everyone’s cup of tea I get that (my oldest daughter knows how to boil water really well), but if I had to switch great company with so-so food I rather keep the company. We have hilarious friends we can laugh with on anything, sometimes I wish the food was just as funny. And this Thanksgiving has been filled with reminders that we have dear friends who care enough to remember our own holiday celebration, Hanukkah, when they decorated the dinner table with chocolate money and Hanukkah gifts just for us. I am more grateful today then I was yesterday.

Back to the million chocolate money question: great food or great company? I choose the last two. Great company compensates on a lot of so-so’s…great company makes me forget I’m hungry…great company makes a so so food and life – awesome.

delicious poached pears in chocolate ganache

The poached pears dessert I made for Thanksgiving dinner was an absolute treat and my mouth thanked me when I had one at the time of the photo shoot. Yours will too. A treat I tell you.

poached pears in moscato wine

Easy, delicious and guess what? low in fat. The big deal here is Moscato wine. I use it for its unique fragrance, light-body and low in alcohol. Moscato is refreshing and crisp and makes any dessert feel good.

delicious poached pears

So…shall we:

ingredients:

5 medium firm pears, peeled, halved while stem still attached and cored
1 cinnamon sticks
3 c. Moscato wine
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. white sugar
5 cloves

chocolate ganache:

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

garnish:
sprinkles “cookies and cream”

*     *     *

In a heavy pan combine pears, liquid and spices. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low, occasionally turning them over, until pears are fork tender. Let pears cool in the syrup.
At this point, you can refrigerate the pears in the syrup for a day or 24 hours. The pears will become darker and much richer in flavor.

Meanwhile, on low heat bring heavy cream to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and chocolate chips, let sit for 3 minutes then stir to combine until the chocolate melts. Whisk to smooth. Pour sprinkles on a plate. While chocolate is still warm, gently deep each pear in the ganache, then in “cookies and cream” sprinkles and arrange on a serving dish. Serve warm or chilled.

Do not discard the pears’ syrup just yet. Add hot water and you got a new hot beverage for those cool long nights. Take a sip……Ahhhhhhhh…….

Advertisements

Perfect pears baked with rosemary sprig in white balsamic reduction

baked pears with rosemary and white balsamic reduction

Believe me when I say that I will bath myself in a rosemary water-bath, covered with real rosemary sprigs until my nose can no longer function. There is nothing more sensual and aromatic than having rosemary (sprig or anything that smells like one), laid around the house somewhere. I have one in my linen spray bottle, in my olive oil, oil message bottles, my aroma therapy plug-ins, laundry room, drawer liners, shoe closet…you get the idea. And no, it doesn’t overpower. It’s a beautiful herb, relaxing and oh so calming…

A bit of history – remember my Perfect pear recipe I posted a while back? it’s one of our favorite dessert and I make it quite often, but lately I’ve experimented with pears and came up with another delicious and simple to make recipe you are going to love (i hope). So the story goes that Friday  was a beautiful sunny day. But everything else was a big mess in my house. Pieces of bricks laid around the first floor, a heavy reminder that my mini project remodel is became super mini. Living room walls peeled off of an expensive wallpaper only to have them finished with yet another expensive look. My dusty new furniture covered with a cheap dustier plastic sheet, walls poked with large holes a reminiscent of where the T.V. used to hang and where a new one is going to be. It felt half depressing (the other half kept whispering in my ears to stay calm, this too shall be over soon.) I wanted to leave everything and get a hotel room. But then, when i turned around and looked into my messy kitchen the thought of baking something sweet, even in a middle of a mess, comforted me. So I made it. The house smelled amazing. The first bite of a warm sweet fruit made me forget what i had felt before. The closer the following bites got to my lips and right under my nose, the more I fell in love with life’s simple luxuries, even in a middle of a chaos. Chaos that inspired me to create and bring a moment of joy not only to myself but to my family that night.

You don’t have to have a reason to feel that sweet sense of comfort. Feeling down or up and want to make someone else happy too? treat that person or yourself to this beautiful heart warming dessert. My mom’s motto is that good food solves many of life’s issues. I believe her. After all, with such a vast life experience like she has – who am I to argue.

pears baked in white balsamic reduction

baked pears with rosemary and white balsamic reduction

If you love pears and I’m hoping that you do, then this is one of the best perfect pears recipe you will ever make. And if you love the beautiful aroma of a simple rosemary sprig and how it can enhance this dish in contrast to the sweetness of the sugar and the white balsamic syrup – I salute you.

it’s super easy….super comfort….few ingredients you can customize to your liking…super flavorful and beautiful………you don’t need another reason do you?

baked pears with white balsamic reduction

delicious baked pears in white balsamic reductionHow did rosemary sprig fit in the picture? just before baking the pears i popped my head in the fridge looking for something interesting to add. I found a couple of rosemary sprigs i almost forgot about and threw one in. It became the star.

I served the pears warm with vanilla ice-cream and here is what I heard them saying: “…mmm what is it?…wow, oh…this is so good what did you say it was again?…oh man this is delicious i don’t care what you put in it… oh Sigal it’s delicious what’s that name again…it has this…what’s in there?…” – I told you – rosemary.

Ingredients:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5 nicely ripe pears, peeled and cored
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cardamom cloves
1 rosemary sprig
**1/2 c. white balsamic reduction (see recipe)
juice of one lemon

for the balsamic reduction:
1 part water
1 part white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar
** i use 1 cup ratio of water and vinegar

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Preheat oven to 350. Cut pears in half and place in a large bowl with lemon juice. Set aside.
Prepare the white balsamic reduction – this is the moment when you need to watch the syrup with both eyes (yes both), because it cooks quickly: in a medium sauce pan on medium heat combine water, white balsamic and white sugar. Just when starting to boil reduce heat to medium/low, gently stir and simmer uncovered until syrup becomes thick and about 75% of the vinegar is evaporated. You are your best judge so keep a watchful eye, it will tell you when the syrup is ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium baking dish (i prefer to use glass) arrange the pears cut side down. Pour the balsamic syrup over the pears and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon. Tuck the rosemary sprig between the pears and throw in the cardamon cloves. Give a gentle shake, cover with foil and bake about 35 minutes.Make sure there is still liquid left when done. Optional: While baking I uncovered the pan and with a large spoon drizzled some of the syrup from the pan on the pears. Covered and baked until it was ready.

perfect baked pears with rosemary and balsamic reduction

It was a mind-blowing flavorful experience honestly…but that didn’t stop me from taking a hotel room that night 😉

bon appetit

The perfect pear – shockingly delicious dessert

perfect pear dessert

perfect pears dessertIt’s gorgeous, its sexy and shockingly delicious thanks to the aged balsamic vinegar that adds a unique zap to this dish.

Deep in color and transparency the glaze is gently poured over the pears drips from top to bottom, creating this perfect little puddle on the plate – a perfect warm blanket for a scoop of vanilla ice cream – it will awaken all your senses!

It’s a favorite in my family and among friends and one of the easiest to make. The idea is to use an aged balsamic vinegar – the best you can efford.

pears in a pot - perfect pear dessertshall we:

Ingredients:
4 firm pears, peeled and left whole (Bosc work well)
2 cups of water
½ cup of a good quality aged balsamic vinegar – the best you can efford.
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
5 cloves
1 tsp cardamon seeds, crashed
vanilla ice cream (optional)

perfect pear dessertPreparation:

From the bottom of the pears cut a small slice so pears can stand upright.
In a medium heavy sauce pan combine water, balsamic vinegar, sugar and spices. Lay the pears in liquid and bring to a gentle boil on a medium/high heat. Cover the pot half way with a lid (so not to cause an over-spill), reduce to simmer. Cook pears for about 30 min or until tender, making sure you turn pears at least once.
Remove pears from the pot and set a side to cool. Continue to cook the balsamic glaze on a medium/high heat until thickens and sauce reduced to about half a cup. At this time the sauce turns into a beautiful transparent dark glaze. Remove from heat and let cool. The sauce thickens a little bit more while cooling. Remove bits of spices if you want. I usually leave it.
On a beautiful dessert dish place pears, or a single pear, upright. Gently spoon the warm balsamic glaze over the pear. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Serve it to yourself of course, and guests – you don’t have to say a word. They will.

perfect pears dessert

perfect pears dessert with vanilla ice cream

Eat. Bon apptite