Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hot Chocolate Poached Pears

'Tis the season to cook and bake with pears! This time, instead of the usual poaching pears in wine/port/sherry or any other red colored liquid, we're going to be poaching them in another quintessential winter drink: hot chocolate! Thanks to the inventiveness of Colby Garrelts and Megan Garrelts, authors and chefs of the Bluestem cookbook, these pears have come to live in my kitchen for the past 2 days and we've had one for dinner for the past two nights.

For the past two weeks, Virtual Potluck has joined forces with Taste on the N8tion, creating Valentine's Day menu that include great drink pairings. Here's a little about Taste on the N8tion: is a web television and radio network covering a wide variety of topics from music to entertainment. Produced out of our Atlanta studio, our web shows feature guest experts, music artist, business founders,music producers, movie stars, comedians, technologists and CEO’s — all keeping you up to speed on what’s happening with a fast and funny style. Informative and entertaining, is the place for whatever your interests may be.

The company was founded in 2010 by Myron McDaniel and Otis McDaniel and is based in Atlanta, GA.

You can head on over to The Groovy Foody for more recipes, as well as check out these past menu ideas:
These pears are decadent, without being overwhelming. You can use your favorite chocolate to poach them in, as well as adapt the spices. We added a few cardamom pods to enhance the holiday flavors even more. Make these the night ahead of a dinner party and re-warm just before serving.

Hot Chocolate Poached Pears
 with Bonjwing Lee/ Andrews McMeel Publishing

This is a comforting and lovely alternative to wine-poached pears. Letting the cooked pears steep
in the chocolate poaching liquid overnight helps intensify the chocolate flavor. These pears are
best served warm. This recipe can be doubled.
Serves 4

3 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
3 cloves
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pinch of salt
2 semi-firm ripe pears, peeled, halved, and cored

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves to a simmer over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the chocolates, cocoa powder, rum, and salt and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. 
  2. Add the pears and poach them for 45 minutes over low heat. Turn them over once halfway through the cooking process so they cook more evenly. They should be tender enough that a knife inserted in the thickest part will easily slip in and out.
  3. Keep the pears warm until ready to serve. If you’re not using them right away, you may refrigerate the pears in their poaching liquid in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  4. To reheat, warm the pears in their poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium-low heat and drizzle the sauce over it before serving. 
Check out the video TheN8tion has developed specially for Virtual Potluck!

    What's your favorite way to cook and bake with pears? Do you have a favorite pear variety?  
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