p Picks and Pecks: recipe: stewed pears

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

recipe: stewed pears

Sometimes when I walk in the market, I get side-tracked by new ingredients. In this case, these red pears, which I thought were quite unusual, since I had only eaten green ones before. Since they were a russet red, I was reminded of autumn, so I had the idea of stewing them so that they were musky and sweet. 

At the same time, I bought some dried longans, which had such a rich, sweet taste. I thought of combining the two in a simple dessert.

Since I was on a autumnal train of thought, I decided that cinnamon would be a good spice to use, since its aroma reminded me of apple pies and warm cider. I also added some oolong tea leaves, so that the tannins in the tea could cut some of the sweetness of the pears if it got too over-powering.

I peeled the pears and pierced the flesh with a fork so that the flavours of the spices could penetrate. I arranged them into a clay pot, and added my tea leaves, cinnamon stick and longans to steep in some hot water, which was just enough to cover the tops of the pears. Halfway through, I tasted  my stewing liquid.  I felt that it was turning slightly bitter or astringent from the tea steeping for too long, I added some wild honey to the mix. I let this stew till the pears were soft enough that a fork could pass through to the center.

Once they were cooked, I lifted the pears out of the liquid and reduced it so that it became a thin syrup, which I spooned over the pear before eating. The pear were so soft that I could eat it with a spoon - I think this could be served equally well hot or cold, with the syrup being quite refreshing and fruity (rather than the heavy tinned syrup flavor) due to the spices and the longans.