Friday, January 30, 2015

Poached Forelle Pears with Bourbon Honey Crème and Winter Spice Syrup

     Tiny Forelle Pears!
     Forelle pears are perfect for poaching in a flavored liquid.  Two or three forelle pears are about the same weight as one regular size pear.  Forelle pears are very sweet, so they are a nice choice for a poached pear dessert.

     Forelle pears originated in Germany sometime in the 1600's or 1700's.  The German word "forelle" actually translates to trout.  I do not know why these little pears share a name of a fish, but that could be an interesting subject to look into.  
     Persia and Turkey also have a long history of growing miniature sweet pears and many other miniature fruits, so it is possible that the forelle pear seed stock originally came from the middle east.  Persian and Arabic chefs have a tradition of using honey to candy and preserve miniature fruits.  Before sugar became commonplace, honey was cooked down to a candy glaze, then the miniature fruit was simmered in the glaze, till the fruit became saturated and candied.  Middle eastern candied miniature fruits were usually reserved for special occasions.  

     Today's Recipe
     Poached pears have been a fine dining dessert for a few centuries.  Most chefs poach pears in wine or a liquor.  Winter spices are usually part of the liquor or wine poaching liquid. 
     For today's poached pear recipe, I chose to not use any liquor or wine in the poaching liquid.  I only wanted to accent the flavor of the forelle pears with German winter spices.  
     To achieve the pink color, organic red food dye was used.  Pomegranate juice, beet juice or cranberry juice can be used in place of a few drops of organic red food coloring.  Beet juice probably adds the least amount of flavor.  
     After the pears are poached, sugar is added to a portion of the spiced poaching liquid, and the sweetened poaching liquid is reduced to a red colored accompanying syrup for decorating the plate.

     The liquor choice for the accompanying cream sauce was Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon.  Brandy, Rum, Grand Marnier and fortified wines are often used for dessert sauces.  Bourbon is rarely used for dessert sauces, but it has an excellent flavor profile for dessert sauce that accompanies pears or apples.  
     A combination of bourbon, honey and lemon actually is an old American cough syrup.  In recent years, honey flavored bourbon has become popular with the cocktail drinking crowd.  Bourbon and honey go together like peaches and cream.  The bourbon honey crème sauce in this recipe turned out to be a nice choice for accenting the flavor of the winter spice poached pears. 

    There are two poaching techniques.  Cold start and hot start.  Cold start poaching allows a transfer of flavor.  Hot start poaching flavors the item that is poached and the poaching liquid gains a minimum of flavor from the item that is poached.  Cold start poaching is used in this recipe.
     *This entire recipe yields 1 dessert portion!

     Winter Spice Poached Forelle Pears:
     A subtle amount of winter spices is best, because the flavor of Forelle Pear is so nice.  Winter spices are very strong, so only a little bit of each should be used!
     Step 1:  Place 3 small peeled forelle pears in a small sauce pot.  (Leave the stems on the pears.)
     Add just enough water to cover the pears.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 clove.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add enough beet juice, pomegranate juice or organic red food dye to give the poaching liquid a red color.
     Step 2:  Place the sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the pears become tender, but not mushy.
     Step 3:  Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Save the poaching liquid!

     Winter Spice Syrup:
     A little bit of spice syrup is needed for the poached pear recipe, so only a small portion of the poaching liquid was called for.  If you want to use some spice syrup for other recipes, then multiply the amount of sugar in this recipe, so it is the correct proportion for turning all of the poaching liquid into syrup.
     Place 1 cup of the poaching liquid in a small sauce pot.
     Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
     Place the sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin syrup consistency.  
     Keep the spice syrup warm on a stove top.

     Bourbon Honey Crème:
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 ounces of Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon.
     Boil for 1 minute, till the alcohol denatures.
     Step 2:  Add 4 ounces of cream.
     Bring the cream to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin sauce consistency. 

     Poached Forelle Pears with Bourbon Honey Crème and Winter Spice Syrup:
     Spoon a thin layer of the bourbon honey cream sauce on a plate, as a bed for the poached pears.
     Trim the bottom of each poached forelle pear, so it will stand upright.
     Place the poached pears on the bourbon honey crème.
     Spoon a small amount of the spice syrup over each pear.
     Drizzle drops and streaks of the spice syrup on the bourbon crème sauce.
     Serve as is or drag a skewer through the two sauces on the plate to create modern marbled effect.  I pictured both styles of sauce presentations in the photographs above.
     No garnish is necessary!

     Poached pears are always a nice dessert that is appealing to the eyes! 

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