Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PEARS POACHED IN LILLET


I have an insatiable appetite for pears this time of year.  I eat them sliced on my oatmeal, tossed into crisps, and just eaten solo.  All sorts of pears make me happy, but one in particular is my favorite.... Warrens. There is something magically perfect about the Warrens - their flesh is juicy, silky, sweet, and firm all at the same time.



I've been wanting to share a poached pear recipe for a while now and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, I can imagine these pears as a fresh and light option for ending the day's feast. When I got a precious box of Frog Hollow Warrens, I knew I had to use something special for poaching liquid - it would be a shame to overpower the luscious pear-ness of the fruit. Lillet, an aperitif of Bordeaux wines and citrus liqueurs, and its light fruity fragrance seemed a decadent, yet subtle choice.


Lillet - on the rocks with a generous orange twist - is one of my favorite summer cocktails. Here, those sunny flavors meld with the perfect fall pear and I have to tell you... it's damned good!


INGREDIENTS
(printable recipe)
  • 1 bottle of White Lillet ( 3 cups)
  • juice and zest of one Valencia orange
  • 2 small tangerines or 8 kumquats (sliced thin, with the peels still on)
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 10 sprigs thyme, fresh or dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 just-ripe Warren Pears (others pears, like D'Anjou or Bosc would also work in this recipe)
  • parchment paper



Place all ingredients, except the pears, into a 4 quart saucepan.  Heat liquid over medium high heat  for a few minutes until sugar dissolves.

In the meantime, peel your pears and cut a bit off the bottom of each pear to make it flat and able to stand without falling. (Come serving time, you will appreciate a pear that can stand up.) Keep the stems intact.

Submerge the peeled pears in the poaching liquid and return to a simmer. Cut out a circle of parchment to cover the pears and the liquid. Place a plate or small pot lid over the parchment-covered pears to keep them submerged. If your pears are not totally covered by liquid, you may want to add a bit more water or just rotate the pears periodically to insure even cooking.

Simmer covered pears for 30 minutes. ( If your pears are a little under-ripe, you may want to add 10 or so minutes of cooking time. If the pears are very ripe, 20 minutes of poaching could be enough.) To test for doneness, a sharp knife should be able to pierce the pear without effort.  Remove pears from the stove top. Let pears sit covered and submerged in poaching liquid for another 15-30 minute before serving.

Place each pear in a small pretty bowl or glass.  Strain poaching liquid and keep all the goodies, setting them aside for garnish. Pour some of the strained liquid over each pear. Add a couple of the poached citrus slices, a twig of two of thyme, and some orange zest to each bowl.

If you want to serve the pears later, place them in their cooking liquid, in the fridge for up to a day. The poached pears are delicious served cool as well as warm.



makes 4 large servings (or if you want this to be a smaller dessert, and enough to feed eight, you can cut the pears in half before serving)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 


32 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Those poached pears must taste really divine.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Thanks Rosa. Yes the pears really were dreamy good. I was so happy with the recipe!
    -E

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  3. Heck yes this looks amazing. I love that last photo, it perfectly captures what I imagine these flavors to taste like.

    I have heard of Lillet, and I have heard of Warrens, but I have never had either. Something to try one day when I am not going crazy over finishing my thesis, and have no time to cook or bake, or brush my hair (not that I do that regularly anyway). It'll be over soon:)

    I strive to one day compose my photographs half as exceedingly-well as these ! Beautiful.

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  4. Oh the final photo is so darn cute! I just love it. How fun would that be to serve at Thanksgiving!

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  5. I have never had Lillet before, but these sound wonderful, I adore how you served them in those sweet little cups

    http://chicgeekery.blogspot.com/

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  6. So so beautiful!! I've actually never tried lillet. But a few months back Heidi posted a lillet milkshake and now this! I must try so very soon!

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  7. Emma, Good luck with the thesis and thanks for the super sweet comment:)

    Sarah, I was just looking at your amazing photos of Ireland - wanderlust has struck me again!

    Mal, Thanks! Do give Lillet a try, it's delish!

    Adrianna, you would LOVE Lillet. Being that you are from the sunny south, you could sip Lillet year-round;) I'm jealous now!

    -Erin

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  8. Such beautiful photographs.
    I'm not a huge fan of pears but I love them poached. I've never had Lillet before. I have to give it a try!
    Magda

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  9. Oh, so pretty light and food styling! What a treat to the eyes! Susanne

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  10. Magda, I hope you enjoy trying the Lillet. It is such a treat!

    Susanne, Thanks so much!

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  11. I just had to pop back over and say how wonderful that is that you might be going to Ireland next year! Next, I will be highlighting where we stayed in Dingle (Pax House), then the peninsula...then followed by the town of Dingle itself. I was really taken by this country!

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  12. Stunning photos Erin! I adore pears too, though haven't tried the Warren variety. What a lovely, comforting dessert. Must get my hands on a bottle of Lillet!

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  13. The presentation of those pears is just so lovely. I haven't much experience with Lillet. But now, you have me hankering to try it in both cocktails and baking. ;)

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  14. Beautiful presentation. A perfect autumn dessert!

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  15. Sarah, I cannot wait to hear (and see more) about your Ireland trip. Our travels are in the nascent phase where it is so fun to dream and get inspired

    Renee, Thanks for that nice comment:) And Warrens and Lillet will not disappoint... enjoy!

    Carolyn, Lillet is one of my favorite things to sip - I bet you'll love it.

    Mama's Gotta Bake, Thanks so much:)

    -Erin

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  16. I love, love, love poached pears, and poached Lillet pears sound so good!!! I love how you've served this in those glasses!!! I am going to try this next time I make poached pears. :D Beautiful!

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  17. Beautiful work, my dear. These pears were incredible; their every molecule seemed to be awash with pearness. Amazing flavor. I loved the combination, a perfect match for autumn.

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  18. I just got some pears and this recipe sounds so good, beautiful pictures as always!

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  19. This looks beautiful. I know Lillet well as a lovely refreshing drink and is a bottle that I tend to keep at hand. I have not used it to cook, but used to poach pears seems ideal. Funny, because I was just asking around the table the night before last if poached pears would be of interest. My daughter who had initially shared your site with me came in yesterday saying - Mum have you seen the Yummy Supper blog, she's talking about poached pears and your favorite Lillet! We have both been cooking and baking from your site quite a bit since we found it. My daughter has been on a kick making your peanut butter cookies and macaroons. Macaroons were made last night...I think a few may be stolen to go with the Pears we'll try tonight. Thank you!

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  20. E, this is right up my alley. I have a thing with cooked fruits and there are only a small amount of them that I like cooked. It's a texture thing. Lucky for me, pears are elevated to favorite status, because I will enjoy them raw or cooked. And the way you've prepared them is simply perfect. I've never heard of Warren pears - is it a Northern CA thing? I will be at Lake Tahoe next week and you can bet I will be combing the area for any chance to get my hands on some! (Not holding my breath - those mountain communities don't always have a big selection but still...). I hope you enjoy this first holiday season back at home :o). Lori

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  21. Beautiful pictures and styling! I love the light in all these photos, Erin. I've been eating a lot of pears too, though the one I like is red pear.

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  22. Gosh these look so delicious! You know I have a big weakness for pears. I've just been rhapsodizing about clementines too, so you've hit the jackpot :)

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  23. How absolutely beautiful! They sound delicious. So sophisticated yet simple, and elegant too. I can smell them cooking already...ahhhhhhhh. Love pears.

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  24. I've been hearing about lillet for months now, and you've finally motivated me with this great recipe to hunt down a bottle!

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  25. Jennifer, Thanks so much!

    Lia:)

    Anna, I am so touched by your comment. And I am happy to hear about another Lillet fan. That stuff is too good to miss, isn't it? I hope you enjoy the poached pears. May I suggest...Save any extra poaching liquid for a cocktail. Warmest regards to you!

    Jenn, thanks for noticing the light. I am really enjoying the unusual quality of this almost-winter light. And I love red pears too. Yum!

    Emma, you really are the "poire" girl;) And yes that combo with the clementines is divine!

    Olinda, you're totally right... the smell was delish - citrus, booze and pears. All good:)

    thewimpyvegetarian - you won't be disappointed. I am thrilled to motivate you get a bottle of Lillet.

    xxxooo to you all,
    E

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  26. Lori, Thanks for that sweet comment! Warrens are a rare variety but they do grow them at Frog Hollow. You can even order boxes online. But I wouldn't be surprised if you found some Frog Hollow Warrens in Tahoe. What a great place to spend the holidays. So cozy!
    Wishing you and your family a tasty feast,
    E

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  27. I don't think I've eaten enough pears yet this year...your post has given me a massive craving! Your photos are so beautiful and appetising too...gorgeous :-)

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  28. I'm a pear freak myself. I think they are best raw, but I will eat them no matter. I have pear vinegar that I love. You have put such wonderful care into these to make a dreamy pear dessert.

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  29. thelittleloaf, I'm so glad to start a massive craving... go get some pears:)!

    Angela, ooooh pear vinegar sounds great. So funny you say that... I've been wanting to make my own vinegar, and bet your pear vinegar is so good. Yum!

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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  30. Sounds like a very worthy poaching liquid for the lovely pears! A great dessert for fall.

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  31. OMG. We lived in Bordeaux for 6 monhs and we learned to love Lillet. Will definately try this recipe!

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  32. Beautiful pictures and a wonderful, creative recipe! Looks perfect for colder days!!!

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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