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Poached pears with Mexican chocolate sauce

 
This elegant dessert will impress anyone, from grandma to your girls. What could be better than combining our favorite sweet treats—fresh fruit, chocolate and ice cream? Answer: Nothing! For a professional presentation, serve each pear upright in a shallow bowl and accented with a scoop of ice cream, then drizzle with chocolate sauce.

 

 

Ingredients

Serves 6

 

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cinnamon stick, about 3 inches long

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 cups water

6 firm but ripe pears, with stems intact, peeled

 

For the chocolate sauce

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon sugar

 

1 pint vanilla ice cream

 

Directions

 

1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears, combine the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour in the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the spices are fragrant. Remove from the heat.

 

2. Trim about 1/4 inch off the base of each pear to create a flat bottom. Return the poaching liquid to a gentle boil. Using tongs, gently lower the pears into the liquid. Reduce the heat to simmer and poach the pears, uncovered, turning them occasionally with a wooden spoon so that they cook evenly. The pears are ready when they are easily pierced with a thin skewer. This will take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the pears. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the pot and place on a large plate. Discard the poaching liquid.

 

To make the chocolate sauce, combine the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, chile powder, and sugar. Continue to stir until the spices are well blended into the chocolate mixture. Remove from the heat.

 

Place the pears in shallow bowls. Add a scoop of ice cream to each bowl. Ladle a spoonful of warm chocolate sauce over the pear and another over the ice cream.

 

Tip: When choosing pears, look for firm varieties like Bosc that will hold their shape when poached.
 

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books. For more farm-fresh recipes, check out At the Farmers’ Market with Kids by Leslie Jonath and Ethel Brennan, out now.
 
 

BY GL ON 9/23/2012 12:00:00 AM

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