Winter has most definitely set in and I’m turning towards easy, light but warming recipes for the whole family to enjoy. With a Thermomix in the household, soups are a no-brainer so we’ve had many hearty ladlefuls over the last month. I’m also looking forward to more slow cooking, especially as I got my mitts on some ox tails recently which I plan to turn into a rich, red wine casserole. More on that later!
But what about dessert? There’s certainly no shortage of delicious winter dessert recipes (self-saucing pudding anyone?) around but as I’m trying to keep an eye on the waistline in the lead up to my black belt grading for karate this August, I’m opting for lighter desserts that are still wonderfully satisfying and warming.
I was kindly sent a couple of bottles of Rekorderlig’s Orange-Ginger cider recently which gave me some ideas for light desserts. One idea that came to mind immediately was poaching pears in cider. The Orange-Ginger cider made for a great base and I only needed to add a little bit of sugar. It’s not a very sweet cider at all (I use it a lot in savoury recipes such as this slow cooked pork belly) so it doesn’t overpower the natural sweetness of the pears.
Poached pears don’t really need any fancy accompaniment but I decided to serve mine with some non-fat Greek yoghurt combined with some of the poaching syrup. A handful of toasted almond slivers finished the dish off nicely. If you like things on the sweeter side, try the pears with some custard or creme anglaise, and oat clusters or crushed Granita biscuits on top.
This dessert is glorious to have while warm but the pears are equally delicious to eat cold the next day, perhaps for breakfast with some bircher muesli.
Note: Cider used in this recipe was kindly provided to the blogger by Rekorderlig via the lovely team at Exposure PR.
Cider Poached Pears
6 small/medium sized brown-skinned pears (I used Gold Rush pears – green pears aren’t that great for poaching IMHO)
One bottle of Rekorderlig Orange-Ginger cider
1 or 2 tbsp of sugar (to taste)
One piece of orange rind
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cinnamon quill
1 small slice of fresh ginger
To Make: Peel and core pears and slice into halves. Set aside. Place all other ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for a minute or two on low heat. Place pear halves carefully into the saucepan. Pears should be mostly submerged. Gentle poach on a low simmer for about 20 minutes or less, depending on how ripe the pears are. I recommend testing at 10 minutes. If a knife goes through a pear with some resistance, turn each half gentle and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Ideally the pears should be soft enough on serving so that a dessert spoon can cut through fairly easily, but not so soft that they fall apart when handled. Turn off heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching syrup for about an hour. Serve as desired or keep in fridge in the poaching liquid for up to a week. The poaching liquid is great to reserve as a dessert sauce or to use in baking :)