Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moscato and Vanilla Poached Pears and Getting to Know My Oven


Growing up, I have never been the girliest girl among friends. I probably checked the content of the fridge more often than checking myself out in the mirror. Yes, I am one who doesn't even look into the mirror when I wash hands, after going to the bathroom. Especially so in the the public bathrooms.

Given my total negligence on my appearance, I turn out to be slighly above average as an Asian female homo sapiens, thanks to my parents excellent genes. However, beneath my tomboy-ish skin, my favorite color happens to be pink. The girliest color among all.


When I see this tree blooming with pink flowers in front of my new apartment, I go crazy taking hundreds of photos of it, at different angles, once in the morning and once before sunset. It is a good omen, I tell myself. I shall get into the kitchen to bake something marvelous and fill our new house with delicious scent.

Here comes the problem.

Despite my enthusiasm of a new and bigger kitchen, my first few collaborations with the oven don't turn out as well as I have anticipated. A failed batch of Pandan chiffon cake, chocolate and pear clafoutis and Nutella cupcakes later, I know I need more time to get to know the oven.

sweet wine poached pears

It is time like this that reminds me of the poached pears I made for a dinner party not long ago. Tired of thinking what else to bake, and the prospect of cleaning many bowls, I decided to bring something different this time. With a few pears sitting in the refrigerator, it would be a perfect occasion to try my hand at poaching. The delicious pears have then be devored (with some premium quality ice-cream), with photos taken as proof, then promptly forgotten and burried in one of the picture folders. Until now. This effortless dessert would be perfect at time like this.

sweet wine poached pears

Poaching is a simple and healthy technique to impart flavors. As fancy as the term sounds, poaching is nothing more than immersing the desired fruits or meat into a flavorful simmering liquid. I poached the pears roughly based on a recipe from But one could easily substitute any components of the poaching liquid to obtain the desirable taste. This is the kind of dessert one needs when the oven is not cooperative. :)

Note: If you come via feeds, click through to check out my new layout. I get bored and decided to give my blog a facelift, again.

Moscato and Vanilla Poached Pears
adapted from

6 firm but ripe large Bosc/Anjou pears, peeled, halved, cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cup water
1.5 cups Moscato
12 tablespoons honey
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Toss pears with lemon juice in large bowl. Set aside. Combine water, Moscato and honey in large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning when half-way through cooking, about 15-25 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to half. Cool syrup. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove vanilla bean.

Halved the pears, removing the cores with stem attached. Or thinly slice each pear half lengthwise, leaving slices attached at stem end for a fancier presentation. Using metal spatula, transfer pears to plates. Spoon some syrup over pears. Serve with ice cream or enjoy the poached pears as they are.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, I love carnation trees, Mandy! Well, that's what I call them b/c they look like carnations to me. Do you know the actual name?

And those pears are so elegant. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face.

Jannett said...

Love the cherry flower photos...
and the pears look great as well... :)

Anonymous said...

These photos are just too gorgeous! They make me feel like going outside tomorrow and skipping around in the Spring sun... then poaching pears. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Stardust said...

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL shots of the flowers! I'm so envious of the sunshine there. =) Sorry to hear about the failed batches, but I'm sure you'll get to know your oven soon enough. The poached pears look great! Nice facelift for your blog too. Happy weekend.

Manggy said...

Mandy, what a coincidence-- I just posted on poached pears. Must have the same wavelength :) Yours look very delicious.

What is it about the oven that's off? The temperature?

RecipeGirl said...

Who knew that pears could be so pretty?

Gigi said...

The flowers are stunning! Great photos. The pears sound and look like an easy elegant dessert.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

r these some kind of cherry blossoms? they are so so beautiful. flowers make our hearts lighter, don't they, n men do not live as long bc they don't feel what women feel about flowers. now tt shd be a research item. anyways, i c u have done a terrific composite arrangemt of ur food photos. i had sent u an e-mail last time u asked, then i went on holiday, got the written instructions frm my hub's IT guy (who helped me with my composite photos), lost it, n was too embarassed to ask a third time so i didn't get back to u again. but u are doing a better job :D

Nina Timm said...

I thought I was the only one not looking in mirrors.....and the tomboy thing. At last someone like me....yeah!

As for those pears. They look divine and the light in the photo capture the yellow of the pear beautifully.

Ginny said...

I love pink too! The photos and the pears are beautiful!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

gorgeous flowers...

Patricia Scarpin said...

Those pears look wonderful, sweetie! And so do the flowers.

I was never a girl to worry about my looks either. It just started after I was 20. :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I forgot to say the template looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Just like the flowers, those pears are beautiful! I imagine I would LOVEEEE this dessert.

Deborah said...

I have never poached pears before, but you are really making me want to!

Your photos look so wonderful!

Anonymous said...

looks mouthwatering! the pictures are very inviting too!

Veron said...

the pears look delicious! I remember when we changed our ovens I had to adjust all my timings and temperature for recipes

Helene said...

Gorgeous blooms! The desserts is exactly the kind I like to serve at dinner parties. Gives me time to relax and still get great fresh flavors.

Anne said...

love your photos as your new lay out as well :)

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