You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Need a new winter dessert? Try wine-poached pears in sorbet, cocktails


Soft pears are a winter delight — if you can catch them at the right moment.

Too hard, they are inedible. Too soft, they are mealy enough to turn a person away from pears forever.

That was me for many years after always encountering tough cubes of pear in fruit cups. But when I finally learned the patience to let them ripen, I discovered the joy of the soft, juicy (and room temperature) pear.

Pears nearly replaced grapefruit as my favorite winter fruit, and I usually eat them simply sliced. Prohibition Creamery’s Max Sage, however, piqued my interest in poaching pears. They serve a sorbet made with pears poached in white wine and a cocktail made with the leftover syrup.

Prohibition shared the recipe so I could try it at home, and even though I started with pears that weren’t quite ripe enough, I made a delicious pear white wine sorbet with enough pear leftovers for smoothies.

“Pears can absorb a lot of flavor, and poaching is a long, lower-temperature cooking method so that you’re really taking advantage of their ability to soak up that flavor,” says Sage, who recently moved from Fixe to the booze-infused ice cream shop and bar at 1407 E. Seventh St.

You want to peel pears before poaching, not only for presentation and texture as you’re eating them but also because it increases the surface area for the liquid to soak into the pear flesh.

If your pears are perfectly ripe with a thin skin, you could drop them into boiling water for a few seconds and then rub off the skin, but Sage usually peels them by hand with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. (Trying to cut down on food waste in your kitchen? Sage suggests finding a good use for those peels as a bed for roasting meat. Unlike apple skins, they aren’t so moist and full of sugar, so they release flavor without burning.)

“The sweetness of pears works with a lot of things, not like a banana, where you are stuck with doing one thing,” he says.

You can infuse the pears in any number of liquids, sweeteners, herbs and spices. Sage tosses out ideas: cardamom, ginger, pink peppercorns, lemongrass, tea. I think: star anise, cinnamon and a vanilla pod.

One key to poaching is not to boil or simmer the pears over too-high heat. By holding the pears at 180 degrees, or just under simmering, you can preserve some of the starches, which act as a stabilizer for the sorbet as you freeze it. Underripe pears have more starch than sweeter, more ripe ones, I found out, so my sorbet was extra creamy.

After you’ve cooked them until they are fork-tender, you’ll need to puree the fruit and some of the poaching liquid in a food processor or blender. Sage says you’re looking for a consistency that you can pour, so add more liquid as needed. If you add more wine at this stage, the sorbet will have a stronger wine flavor, but you can also thin it with water if the pear puree is already strong enough for your taste.

Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your machine, and then store in an airtight container for at least eight hours before scooping to serve. If you have any leftover puree, you could serve it on pancakes, Sage says. I’ll be using some of mine in smoothies and to flavor kombucha.

But what about the wine you poached those pears in? That liquid gold is payment for the patience it took to wait on those pears to ripen in the first place and the work you put into peeling those pesky curves.

Just as the liquid infuses the fruit, the fruit infuses the liquid, leaving a simple syrup that has infinite possibilities in Sage’s kitchen. He uses it in a caramelized pear daiquiri at the ice cream shop, but he says he could imagine cooking it down until it’s thicker and more unctuous and then using it in a salad dressing, glaze or marinade.

Of course, you could just drizzle that pear-wine reduction (or even leftover pureed pears) over regular old ice cream, making an entirely new boozy treat to keep your spirits up this winter.

White-Wine Poached Pear Sorbet

2 1/2 lbs. firm, ripe pears

1-2 (750 ml) bottles light-bodied, medium-acid white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc

3 2/3 cups sugar

3 1/3 cups water

Juice from 1 fresh-squeezed lemon

Peel, stem and quarter pears. Add one bottle of white wine to a large pot. Add sugar and water and, using a thermometer, bring liquid to below simmering, about 180 degrees.

Add pears to liquid and gently poach for 30 minutes at 180 degrees, or longer depending on their initial ripeness. Remove from heat. Cool pears in their poaching liquid.

Once liquid and pears are cool, strain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid for another use, such as the caramelized pear daiquiri. Puree the pears in a blender with enough poaching liquid to blend easily, approximately 1 1/2 cups poaching liquid. Add lemon juice and an additional cup of white wine, if you are using an extra bottle of wine. (If you’re only using 1 bottle of wine or want a less boozy taste, you can use a cup of water in this last step.) Chill pureed sorbet base for 12 to 24 hours before freezing in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions.

— Max Sage and Laura Aidan of Prohibition Creamery

Caramelized Pear Daiquiri

If you’ve made the sorbet, continue cooking the leftover poached pear liquid in a small pan over medium-high heat until it reduces to about 25 percent of its original volume. Allow liquid to cool, and then proceed with this recipe.

2 oz. rum

3/4 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed and strained

3/4 oz. reduced pear syrup

Pour the rum, juice and pear syrup into a mixing glass. Add large ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

— Max Sage, Prohibition Creamery

Poached Pears with Saffron Broth

Don’t want to use wine? Try this version from Rebecca Katz’s “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2nd Edition” that calls for using pear nectar, ginger and saffron. If you can’t find pear nectar, you could sweeten the poaching liquid with sugar or honey. She suggests serving with a cashew cream, but traditional whipped cream would be a little easier for most home cooks.

— Addie Broyles

4 cups pear nectar

Zest of 1 lemon, in long pieces

4 inches peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

Generous pinch of saffron (12 to 15 threads)

2 ripe but firm pears, preferably Bosc or Comice, peeled, cut in half, seeded and stemmed

Salt (optional)

Lemon juice (optional)

Freshly made cashew or whipped cream, for serving

Stir the pear nectar, lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup and saffron together in a large saucepan or 3-quart sauté pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.

Place the pear halves in the saucepan, flat side down. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pears and cover with a small plate to weigh the pears down as they simmer. Lower the heat and simmer until the pears are tender and a knife pierces them all the way through without resistance.

Remove the pears from the saucepan. Return the liquid to the heat, bring to a lively simmer and cook until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Taste the liquid; it may need a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavors.

Serve the pears drizzled with the poaching liquid and topped with a dollop of cream if you like. You can garnish the pears with the solids from the broth. Lemon peel, vanilla pods, star anise pods and cloves all make beautiful garnishes. Serves 4.

— From “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2nd Edition” by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson (Ten Speed Press, $32.49)

Pear-Berry Green Tea Smoothie

This smoothie is a great way to use up leftover poached pears, or even a little of the simple syrup, but the biggest takeaway here is that green tea and poached pears are an excellent way to amp up your morning smoothie routine.

— Addie Broyles

2 cups cooled green tea

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced

2 small poached pears or 1 cup pear puree

2 cups berries, such as strawberries and raspberries

1 tsp. honey

1 cup ice

2 sprigs mint (optional)

In a large blender, combine green tea and ginger and blend on high until ginger is broken down, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add pears or pear puree, berries and honey to blender and blend on high until all fruits are broken down and well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add ice and mint, if using, and blend on high until smooth. Pour equal amounts of smoothie into two cups and serve.

— Adapted from “The Power Bowl Recipe Book: 140 Nutrient-Rich Dishes for Mindful Eating” by Britt Brandon (Adams Media, $18.99)



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Jet owned by Elvis fetches $430,000 at auction
Jet owned by Elvis fetches $430,000 at auction

A red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar private jet once owned by Elvis Presley sold for $430,000 at a California auction featuring celebrity memorabilia on Saturday. >> Read more trending news The plane had been sitting on a New Mexico tarmac for 35 years before it was consigned for sale, GWS Auctions said. It was owned by Presley and his father, Vernon...
Follow the adventures of Dallas ‘Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay
Follow the adventures of Dallas ‘Bachelorette’ Rachel Lindsay

Welcome to another season of the beautiful disaster known as the “Bachelor” franchise. This “Bachelorette” season’s star, Dallas native and University of Texas graduate Rachel Lindsay, met her 31 suitors last week in an episode that was filled with — you guessed it — drama. Let me just start by saying that...
Finish out the holiday weekend with some art
Finish out the holiday weekend with some art

Film “Fitzcarraldo” Boat Party with the Alamo Drafthouse. Spend your Memorial Day at the Alamo Ritz for a surreal screening of Werner Herzog’s beloved film and close it out with an unforgettable boat party on scenic Lady Bird Lake with professional artists from Austin’s new opera company, LOLA (Local Opera Local Artists). &ldquo...
New records from Austin artists include Fastball, Missio and more
New records from Austin artists include Fastball, Missio and more

Austin music has been coming fast and furious in recent weeks, with releases from long-running bands, promising upstarts and talented singer-songwriters. Here’s an overview: Fastball, “Step Into Light” (33-1/3). Of all the great Austin acts who get taken for granted — and there are many, from Americana heavyweights playing weekly...
U2 makes post-concert stop at Whataburger in Houston 
U2 makes post-concert stop at Whataburger in Houston 

After another grueling concert on the road, U2 can be forgiven for acting in mysterious ways. The Irish rock ’n’ roll band finished their show in Houston on Wednesday night and decided to eat at a local Whataburger, KDFW reported. >> Read more trending news After arriving, members of the band posed for photographs with some...
More Stories