Bonjour! I hope you like my little mascot :) What's that? Perhaps I should grade each recipe based on a maximum rating of four frogs legs? "Mais non" says our little friend!
Well, I thought it would be fun to start the first Monday off with something sweet. If I think about it, I really only cook dessert (other than the odd loaf or cookie) on special occasions. That is not how I was brought up though, my mother consistently served a dessert every day after the main meal. A few of my personal favorites were apple crisp, white cake with lemon sauce, warm gingerbread with caramel sauce and whipping cream. My paternal grandmother was also an excellent cook and very French, I remember her desserts as light multi-layered creations where presentation was as important as the dish itself. Pears with Chocolate and Pepper is something I could envision her serving.
Pears With Chocolate and Pepper
"The pear is one of nature's most remarkable inventions; it's versatility is second to none. What other fruit could wed so perfectly with chocolate one minute, blue cheese the next?" - Mireille Guiliano
Zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup sugar
4 Bosc pears (I used Anjou)
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used 18% table cream)
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 85% cocoa - I suggest 65-70%)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
Freshly ground pepper
1. Bring 1 quart water, the orange zest, and the sugar to a boil. Peel and core the pears, keeping them whole by cutting the core out from the bottom, and put them in the boiling syrup over low heat for 20 minutes. Place each pear on a dessert dish and let cool.
2. Bring the cream to a boil, then pour in the chocolate and stir to melt it. Whisk in the butter piece by piece.
3. Pour the sauce over the pears and season with pepper to taste.
Overall impressions: Very simple and quickly made up (start to finish 40 minutes), the pears were delicious after poaching in the sugar and orange zest and the chocolate and pepper were lovely together. We ate all 4 pears lol, so I would consider this a rousing success, however I plan to make the following modifications for the next time:
a) This recipe makes twice the chocolate sauce necessary - I will cut in half next time.
b) Use chocolate with 65-70% cocoa content, (rather than 85%).
c) Improve chocolate sauce by thinning a touch with milk once butter is whisked in.
d) Garnish with orange peel and a few strawberries :)