10.13.2018

The Element of Surprise

Sure, these look like simple poached pears. And it looks like I fancied them up a bit by adding mint leaves, and a berry sauce.

But ... wait! There’s more! I experimented a bit at holiday time, when I was given a cranberry curd made by my friend Kitt. I cored, poached, and stuffed some pears with the curd.

Several weeks ago I made lemon curd, and the experimentation continued. Unlike the cranberry curd, the lemon curd needed something to give it body. I whipped up some cream cheese, folded in the curd and...

The result? A nice surprise of creamy-lemony flavor when we cut into our pears. Alas, we ate these too fast and I didn’t get a photo of the sliced pear with the filling showing...

There are so many more experiments to try! Perhaps nut paste, or a luscious ganache… maybe, now that it’s autumn, a blue cheese mousse and a drizzle of chestnut honey?

For my guests, it will always be a surprise!

~ David

Pear Surprise

4 small pears, around 4-5 ounces each
poaching liquid to cover (see notes)
2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon curd
4-6 tablespoons berry purée (see notes)
mint leaves, with 1/4-inch stems, for garnish


Core the pears leaving the tops, with stems, in tact. Peel the pears, and place in the poaching liquid. Bring them to a boil, reduce heat, then cook at a brisk simmer for 5-10 minutes - depending on ripeness - or until easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate the pears, in their poaching liquid, for several hours. I find it practical to poach the pears 1 or 2 days in advance and store them refrigerated in their poaching liquid.

Combine the cream cheese and lemon curd and refrigerate, covered, for an hour to firm. This can also be made in advance and kept refrigerated.

Before dinner guests arrive, remove pears from the poaching liquid, drain, and pat dry with paper towels, including the cavity. Put a tablespoon of the lemon-cheese mixture in each cavity, scraping off any excess that won’t go in. Place the pears, standing on a plate, back in the refrigerator.

When time to serve, spoon a tablespoon or two of berry purée on a plate and top with a pear. Using a small skewer, make a hole in the top near the stem and insert the stem of the mint leaf.

Serves 4.

Notes
Poaching Liquid. There are so many variants, the simplest being water and sugar. The liquid may be spiced with cinnamon and ginger, or citrus peel, or flavored with wine. White wine - which is what I used - doesn’t change the color of the pear. Rosé will give them a slight blush, and red wine or port will turn them deep pink or, after sitting in their poaching liquid for a day, dark red. You need to have enough liquid to cover the pears, and for these four, I used about 1/2 cup sugar.
Berry Purée. I use fresh berries whenever I can but frozen berries are convenience an excellent substitute! Use raspberries, or a mixture of berries. Cook the berries with a little sugar and a dash of liqueur, if desired. I use Chambord, Cointreau, Triple Sec, or Amaretto. Simmer for 5 minutes or so (until berries soften - if using blueberries, they should have popped!), then cool and push through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. The longer you cook them, the thicker the purée.



36 comments:

  1. David, what a great idea! I would have never thought of stuffing poached pears.

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    1. Thanks, Geinde! My poor guests… they’re going to see a lot of stuff poached pears in the next year!

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  2. A lovely dessert, one that I would certainly enjoy. We often poach pears in red wine, sugar and cinnamon stick, but I never thought of coring them and filling them. Great thinking David.

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    1. We do them in red or white wine, Ron, and the flavors are slightly different, and it’s fun to do different preparations.

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  3. A fine, unique work of art. Looks very tasty!
    THANK YOU for the weekly inspirations!
    Bruce Baer

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    1. Thanks, Bruce! It’s really my pleasure.

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  4. The lemon curd filling brings a real hint of tanginess that goes well with the mellow and sugary flavour of the pear! It's very beautiful, I love it ;)

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    1. Thanks, Romain! It does make for a very elegant dessert.

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  5. Methinks you have taught a whole plethora of poached pear lovers to think again :) ! Oh, a blue cheese mousse sounds quite up my alley . . .

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    1. So true, Eha! I wonder what we will see in the future from all our friends!

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  6. Beautiful, David! I do love this element of surprise! I've often thought of doing this with chocolate lava cakes!

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    1. I used to stuff individual chocolate cakes with truffles… The chocolate kind, of course. It was fun when each cake had a different flavor truffle.

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  7. Blue cheese mousse in a poached pear? Please invite me over when you experiment with that one? Not that I don't want to try this one filled with curd and cream cheese!

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    1. It’s definitely going to be my next trial, John. I’m thinking Gorgonzola cheese for sure!

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  8. How beautiful. This would be such a delicious special dessert to serve for Thanksgiving. Move over pies! The flavor combination sounds divine.

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    1. Thanks for that idea, Valentina! I would’ve never thought of serving these for Thanksgiving.

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  9. Well since you didn't get the photo of the luscious interior I guess I just have to make these for myself to see what I missed. GREG

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    1. We were so piggy, Greg. I wish I had simply taken a little time to get a picture. However, if you make them, you can take a picture and send it to me!

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  10. Such a beautiful dessert and undoubtedly delicious too, David!

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  11. Wow, neat idea! I love lemon and lemon curd, and the idea of adding cream cheese to the mix is brilliant. And then using it to stuff a poached pear? Genius. Excellent recipe and very creative -- thanks.

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    1. Thanks, John - being creative in the kitchen is my favorite contact sport!

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  12. This is such a great idea and I love how you've presented it, it looks amazing. Almost a shame to eat it!

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  13. When we had the orchard, I had lots of pears. I've stuffed poached pears with blue cheese, definitely give it a try. Now I've got to try your with the lemon curd and berry sauce...it sounds delicious.

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    1. We miss our pear tree in Maine, too, Karen!

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  14. Yummy! Wish I could've seen the photo of the pears with the filling oozing out!

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    1. I felt bad, Fran - but, sometimes, when caught up in the aromas, flavors, and textures, I forget the camera!

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  15. A beautiful surprise, David! And it reminds me, I don't do nearly enough with pears. Must remedy that soon. So pretty.

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    1. And this is such a great season fro pears, Jean - poach away! :)

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  16. I love poached pears but I love the thought of filling them even more. What a wonderful idea.

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    1. Thanks, Emma - and there are so many possibilities, too!

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  17. Il est superbe ce dessert ! J'aime beaucoup cette idée de farcir les poires pochées. Bonne journée

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    1. Merci mille fois, Isabelle! Les poires pochées sont un dessert merveilleux - et les farcir avec quelque chose les rend juste plus spéciales. Pensez à toutes les possibilités! Bonne juornée à vous aussi!

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