Spicy Poached Pears with Chocolate Crème
A delightfully sinful, yet light dessert.
1 cup half and half
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 ounces premium semisweet
chocolate (such as Scharffen Berger
or Valrhona), chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Whole mulling spices (such as star anise,
cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, nutmeg,
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 large, very firm green pear
1. Heat the half and half in a saucepan just it until it starts to steam.
2. Whisk the yolks with sugar and salt. Whisk half of the hot cream into the yolks, then pour the egg mixture into the rest of the cream.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thickened. Add chocolate and whisk to combine.
4. Pour crème into a bowl and press plastic wrap on to the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool in the refrigerator.
5. To poach the pears: over low heat, dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water. Add the spices and vanilla bean, cover, and bring to a simmer.
6. Peel and halve the pear. Scoop out the core and remove stem.
7. Place the pear halves in the spice syrup and cover. Poach over low heat until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly in the syrup and serve at room temperature, topped with the chocolate crème.
*A simple alternative is to use a chai tea bag in place of the whole spices. Remove the tea bag when the pear is done cooking. In place of the vanilla bean, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract when you remove the pan from the heat.