So I keep claiming that I’m not that much into dessert, which isn’t strictly true. I don’t understand people that get all uppity about chocolate fondants and I think Créme Brûlée is overrated. However, a few things from the dessert cart can really get me going and those usually involve fruit.

This time of year is great for one of the easiest and tastiest ways to end a dinner; poached pears. Like really, very little work involved and you don’t need much more then sugar, a bit of spice and the pears. Maybe a bit of cream or ice cream to serve it with. As far as the sugar goes this is an excellent time to use the flavored sugars I have mentioned before. This time I used the Christmas flavored sugar and the cinnamon, cardamom etc. worked beautifully with the pears, and then I reduced the fluids with a little cream for an excellent sauce. These pears were soft from the beginning so the poaching no more then 7 minutes.

Poached pears; serves two

2 pears, peeled (leave the stem on, it looks nice)

3 tablespoons caster sugar (preferably flavoured)

1,5 tablespoons of water

(2 tablespoons of heavy cream)

  1. Put the pears standing in a saucepan with a solid bottom, then add the sugar and water.
  2. Put on the lid, and let it come to the boil on medium heat.
  3. Keep the lid on whilst they poach which might take every thing from 5 to 25 minutes depending on how firm they are. Do check with a kitchen needle/knife.
  4. When the pears are done, take them out and place them in serving bowls. Bring the syrup to a boil and let it reduce a bit (possibly adding a day of cream to make it into more of a sauce).
  5. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, with a bit of syrup drizzled on top.

This is moorish and I love this sort of thing after a heavier meal. If the dinner is lighter I might go all in an make a chocolate sauce to serve with the pears and ice cream, basically making it into Poires Belle Hélène. JK JK JK, even after a heavy dinner that can happen because pears, chocolate and vanilla is just the best combo, Escoffier wasn’t joking with that one.

(And yes; I’ve got the Christmas books out already. This recipe isn’t in that one though, however I think it should be. If I ever make a Christmas book I will make sure to include poached pears. It’s an integral part of the Winter kitchen as far as I am concerned)






No trifling matter*

img_0536I’ve made dessert. Again. But it’s a variation on a theme; most desserts I make are based of fruit(or berries), whipped cream and then it’s a toss-up between meringue or spongecake i.e I either make a variation on Eton mess or some kind of trifle.

For someone who is in equal amounts uninterested in desserts and very interested in creating harmonizing combinations of flavour a trifle is a great canvas. It can be composed with existing “materials”,so no baking required, and really the sky is the limit. Which means that my trifles will surely upset some people who are very conservative(and insist on custard having to be one of the layers; I say not always).I never use jello in a trifle but prefer curds and jams; as pointed out I don’t always use custard it happens.In fact BBC4’s Food program had a great episode about it that you can find here.

I made the chocolate and apricot thing a few weeks ago, there is a legendary one with white chocolate,lemoncurd, cream and raspberries which I’ve lost the recipe for.

In this case there is sponge at the base, a generous helping of the curd I made with bitter oranges, loads of whipped cream and topped of with some strawberries. I sliced a few and put in between on of the layers of curd and cream too. In the style of Alice B.Toklas I’m not gonna offer much in way of measurements; you really can’t go wrong and experimenting is a way to learn.

In this case I made them in individual bowls which isn’t optimal; they really gain from being made in big bowls where several layers fits. Another thing to remember is time; it really must sit for at least 6 hours but preferably over night to get all nice and soggy. If you want it to look nice when serving you can put some of the cream aside, and top it with a last layer of fluffy whipped cream and some berries at the last minute.

Now if you excuse me I must go eat the leftovers of this and have coffee. And try to finish some books.


*sorry; pun too good not to use.