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…….

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Delicious dairy free apple and fig tart

 

 

It feels warm and sweet.

 

It smells amazing.

 

It’s shiny and pops with color.

 

It melts in your mouth with first bite.

 

It’s my super delicious apple and fig tatin. I make it like i mean it.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

I’m a sucker for anything French. And when I say french i mean delicious and decadent desserts. When i was in France this year the weather was cool. Long sleeves kept me warm, flat shoes made me comfortable and delicious fruit tatin, almost every couple of hours while exploring, kept me more than happy.

 

So I’m hooked. And for this Thanksgiving holiday I’ve decided to splurge on a French tatin dessert instead of a traditional cake. Yeah, why would you do what everybody else does? be original and cook something your own. Not that I’m cooking crazy in my kitchen for Thanksgiving which as much as I like this holiday I prefer to be invited, but my daughter makes me cook turkey every year. So I decided to spoil everybody and make my french inspired dessert only this time it’s a filling of fruit over an open top, which makes it more of a tart than a tart tatin, but my inspiration come from the French…you get the idea.alt="delicious apple and fig tart" />

 

I could make the crust myself but prefer to use my non dairy puff pastry that i always keep in my freezer. Quick and easy. You don’t even have to roll the dough just lay it flat. Fresh apples and black dried figs are not only the perfect marriage on a crust, but the contrasting colors only add to the exhilarating experience. It’s fiberlicious and unlike cake, slices are thin and loaded with fruit. The lack of butter in this recipe came from the idea that i simply didn’t think it was missing.  The apricot glaze adds a tasty bling to the final results and last time when I served this dessert to my guests, they were over the moon. Literally. Few minutes later there was nothing left. Nothing I tell you.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

So, shall we:

 

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2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and chilled
4 large green apples
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves
pinch of kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 pound black dried figs
4 tbsp tap water
1/4 c. apricot jam + t tbsp tap water (mixed in)
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delicious apple and fig tart

 

Pre-heat oven to 400º.
Peel, core and slice apples to medium thick. Place in a large bowl with lemon juice and half of the sugar. Set a side for 15 minutes. Over medium heat in a large skillet melt the remaining sugar, add water, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir gently. Add apple slices and lemon juice mix. Stir and cook on low for a few minutes until mixture turns light caramel color and is bubbly. You don’t want deep color, it will turn bitter, so keep an eye. Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool a little so you won’t burn yourself when arranging the apples on the crust. In the meantime, on a floured baking sheet big enough to fit the pastry unfold the sheets flat. With sharp knife score rectangles to guide you for portion size. Mine was about 2.5″x4.5″ each. No science here, just cut to smaller sections. Now, Carefully arrange apple slices on each piece of pastry however you like it and leave a small corner of each crust without apples, to accommodate one fig. I used a fork to fish out the apple slices from the pan. Brush edges of pastry and fruits with the syrup that’s been left in the pan (without the cloves). Bake 25 min, or until crust is rich golden brown. Remove and set aside.

 

Warm up apricot jam with tap water to melt. Brush apples and figs with the glaze. If there is any left, brush pastry edges. Serve warm with your favorite hot drink. I prefer hot mint tea using fresh leaves. Combination – Speechless.

 

fun fact about baking in high altitude

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL