Monday, March 25, 2013

Poached Pears with Raspberry-Balsamic Sauce

Earlier in the month, I was delighted to learn my microwave can produce a pretty-darn awesome polenta pudding for dessert, in no time at all. I figured I'd put the little machine to the test again, this time to poach pears for another dessert that cooks in ten minutes.

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 firm Bosc pears (about 1 and 3/4 pounds)*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Place the raspberries in a 3-quart casserole dish.  Cover with the lid and microwave for 2 and 1/2 minutes.  Press the raspberries through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, reserving the liquid; discard the solids.

Note: The mixture left behind will look a bit like raspberry jam; consider saving the berries for that purpose if you feel inspired.

2. Combine the raspberry juice in a bowl with the balsamic, agave, and black pepper. Alas, my camera couldn't quite capture the vivid red color of this beautiful sauce, but it's simply gorgeous, like liquid red velvet.

3. Peel the pears and rub with the lemon juice.  Place the pears in the casserole dish, and drizzle with the raspberry sauce.  Cover and microwave for 4 minutes.  Stir and spoon the sauce over the pears, then return to the microwave for a final 4 minutes.

Serve 1 pear and 2 tablespoons sauce on each of 4 dessert plates.

*When it comes to the pears, do be sure to choose Bosc. They are slender and - I think - simply the most elegant pear, and will work perfectly in this dessert.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 pear, 2 tablespoons sauce), Calories 239

Tasting Notes:
Well, microwave, if you keep this up, I'm going to start making all my desserts with you, and then this can't really be considered a cooking blog anymore. The pears were - yes - perfectly poached, tender but not mushy, warm and with their natural sweetness enhanced. The sauce disappointed me a bit (although grew on me with each bite) because the balance felt a touch off.  There was a bit too much black pepper, and it needed a splash of lemon juice and a little more agave. Tweak the sauce, and this dessert would be a "5" for sure. Consider some sort of garnish whether green (a mint sprig?) or white (vegan white chocolate shavings?) to cut the monochromatic look of the plate.


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