Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dessert Chic....Poached Pear Sundaes

When I picture a dessert that's company worthy, I don't usually think of a fruity dessert....unless of course, it's summertime and berries are abundant (and thereby economical of course).
It's not that I don't like fruity desserts, I just normally gravitate to the richer and luxurious treats -- y'know, cheesecakes, mousses, custards, and the like. But ingredients like best-quality chocolate, cream cheese, and fresh whipping cream can really drive up the price of these homemade confections, and since I'm a team player, I've agreed to keep costs down. So today the sale pears caught my eye, and I decided to give 'em a go.

I thought of creating a gorgeous tart, but I dislike futzing with pastry dough. A crumble or crisp? That would have been great, but I really wanted to attempt a dish I've never done before (plus, I was running low on butter). I found this recipe for Poached Pear Sundaes, which sounded simple but upscale, and (bonus!) also incorporated the Breyer's Ice Cream that's on sale this week.
This recipe could not be easier; I think there are a grand total of oh, six ingredients?! If you decide you'd like to try it, make sure you have about five hours to spare....not because it's gonna take you five hours slaving in the kitchen, silly. You'll need a good four hours for these to chill in the fridge.

Serves: 4
Actual Cost Per Serving: Roughly 1.00

2 c. water
1/4 c. honey
2 long strips of orange zest, orange part only
4 pears, peeled and cut in half top to bottom

Vanilla Ice Cream & Hot Fudge Sauce for serving

Bring the water, honey, and orange zest to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the pears and return to a simmer. Cover pan and continue to poach the pears for 12 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork (but not falling apart). Remove the pan from the heat and allow the pears to cool in their poaching liquid for at least three hours.

To serve: Place a pool of fudge sauce on a serving plate. Top with a pear ** and a scoop of ice cream; garnish with orange zest if desired.

**If you'd like to fan the pears as shown, place them cut side down on a cutting surface. Using a sharp knife, make five or six long cuts down the length of the pear. Gently fan the pear as shown. Pretty, no?

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