I grew up spoiled. Not in the bratty, get what ever I wanted kind of way, though. I grew up spending much of my time during the summer on my grandad’s orchard, shovelling fistfuls of freshly picked fruit into my never satisfied mouth. I say I was spoilt because for years after (even to this day, although I’d rather if that was kept a secret) I’ve had a hard time eating certain fruit. Does that make me a fruit snob? It’s just that when you’ve bitten into an apple just picked from the tree, the juice squirts onto your hand. And when you pull down a pear and take your first bite, it is both firm and soft, never mushy or gritty like so many store bought pears. While I’ll buy both apples and pears from the market now, they’re just not quite the same.
Luckily for me I have fantastic friends. Friends who visit the Okanagan (aka Canada’s orchard and wine country) and think of me while there. Last week my friend Salvi brought me a bag of pears he had just picked off the tree himself. I was cooking him dinner, or rather heating up the previous night’s leftovers, when he presented me with this gift. At that moment I was wishing I had put a little more effort into dinner!
I’ve never cooked with pears before but I was given specific instructions by my lovely Spanish friend to make ‘a special dessert.’ Stuffed from Thanksgiving and all the heavy pies and cakes, I decided to lighten things up. These amaretto poached pears are warm and soft and smelled lightly of almonds. They are sweet, a little too sweet with the syrup, but I’ll change that next time. While I ate mine sitting on the couch in front of my laptop, they wouldn’t look at all out of place at the end of a lavish dinner party.
Having no idea how to make these, and not finding much help on the internet, the result was good. Great even. But not perfect. I added a half cup of brown sugar and a cup of water. Next time I’ll eliminate the water and reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons. The recipe I’ve posted bellow is how I will make the recipe next time around.
- 4 pears, peeled and cores removed
- 1 cup Amaretto
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- Optional: whipped cream or mascarpone cheese
- Peel pears and gently remove core from bottom with a paring knife and a small spoon
- Bring Amaretto and brown sugar to a boil in a sauce pan just big enough to fit the pears
- Add pears and cook covered for 15-20 minutes. Turn pears every few minutes to ensure all sides of the pears absorb some of the Amaretto flavour
- Remove pears and set aside
- Continue to simmer the Amaretto sugar mixture until it is reduced to ⅓ of a cup
- To serve, stand a pear in the middle of a plate. Drizzle with reduced Amaretto sauce and add a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cheese to the side of the pear