Poached Ginger Pears with Chocolate Sauce

The texture of of a ripe pear when you bite into it is like nothing else.  It’s slightly grainy against your teeth yet soft and yielding.  Its lightly perfumed and so juicy it runs down your chin despite your best efforts. Sadly most of the pears we buy aren’t anything like that as pears do not properly ripen on the tree.   They ripen once picked from the inside out so if you grow and pick your own they all seem to ripen at the same time or else fall off the tree and bruise.  One solution to these problems is to poach the pears whilst they are still slightly firm so that not only does the pear turn juicy and flavourful but, kept in the poaching syrup, they will keep for several weeks in the fridge.  It’s a win win.

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Pear Harvest

You can poach the pears in red wine and cinnamon, or a simple sugar syrup.  Here I’ve chosen to make a simple ginger syrup to serve with a dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream – a variation of the French classic Poires Belle Helene.   If you choose a dairy free ice-cream the whole dish is vegan.  The chocolate sauce itself is a wonderful recipe to have to hand as it’s so quick to make yet, like the pears, keeps ages in the fridge.  Just serve the sauce warm as it goes solid when cold.

Poached Pears

 

 

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the poached pears

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 450ml water
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 6 firm, ripe pears

For the chocolate sauce

  • 50ml water
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
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Chocolate Sauce

Method

  1. Place sugar, water, lemon juice and ginger in a sauté or frying pan which has a lid
  2. Heat gently, stirring until sugar has dissolved and then bring to a simmer.
  3. Peel, halve and core the pears, placing them in the simmering syrup as you go to avoid discolouration
  4. Spoon syrup over pears and cover with a scrunched up piece of baking paper tucking in edges.
  5. Put lid on pan and simmer for 20-30 mins (depending on ripeness) until tender
  6. Transfer pears to bowl, and heat syrup for a further 5 mins and a rolling boil to intensify flavours.  Pour over cooked pears and chill.
  7. To make chocolate sauce dissolve the sugar in the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  8. Remove from heat and add chocolate in pieces stirring until it’s melted into a smooth sauce.  Serve at room temperature
  9. Serve pears with some of the ginger syrup and chocolate sauce – delicious with vanilla ice-cream and maybe some nuts sprinkled over

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