Poached Pears & Brûléed Bananas · GF (serves 8)
The black tea, orange, and vanilla each contribute an important component to the flavor profile of the pears so that when served with sassafras anglaise, the overall effect is like a root beer float.
3 pints of water
1 vanilla bean, split
0.3 ounces (or about 10 grams) loose leaf Assam
3 pounds sugar
1 orange, washed and sliced into 1/4” thick rounds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored
For poaching the pears, I find it best to use the smallest pot possible that will accommodate the poaching liquid and the pears without overflowing. If the pot is overly large, the pears will wind up standing in too shallow a quantity of liquid.
Bring the water, along with the split vanilla bean, to a boil. When it reaches a boil, shut off the heat, add the Assam, cover and steep for five minutes. After this time, strain the tea out of the mixture (returning the vanilla to the pot), add the sugar, orange slices and salt, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring once or twice to ensure the sugar dissolves completely.
When the liquid comes to a boil, add in the pear halves, turn the heat down a bit, and maintain the liquid eat a gentle simmer. Slide an orange slice over each pear half to keep the exposed side covered and moist. How long you poach the pears depends on their type and firmness, but expect around 25 minutes. Periodically check their doneness by piercing one with a toothpick. The pears are done when the toothpick slides through without resistance.
When the pears are done, shut off the heat.
Serve immediately or store the pears (submerged in their poaching liquid) in the refrigerator, for about 24 hours. If you store them longer, they will begin to shrink and shrivel, loosing their plump shape, though they will stay quite tasty. To serve, gently rewarm the pears and orange slices in the poaching liquid.
To brûlée the banana, simply sprinkle the cut side of a split banana with granulated sugar use a blow torch to melt the sugar, just as you would a creme brûlée.
You can save and reuse the poaching liquid if you’re a dinner party master and think you’ll have another occasion to poach pears. For those reluctant to throw out anything so flavorful, the poaching liquid makes a nice sweetener for tea, iced or otherwise.
Sep 13, 2011 · 1:20 PM
I made the banana brulee last night for dessert and it rocked! I served it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a little bit of salted caramel sauce. Thanks for the great idea!
Sep 13, 2011 · 7:54 PM
@Kat, such an easy trick, eh? Your dessert sounds delicious, rock on!
Mar 30, 2013 · 1:32 PM
I love poached pears, and the flavourings here sound really interesting!
· Justin · http://www.cutsquash.com
Mar 30, 2013 · 6:06 PM
Hi Justin! Yeah, definitely not your run-of-the-mill poached pears here!