Those semi-sad ballads play. Tears and laughter. Hope and fear. Loss and gain. It all mingles and looms in the form of a golden, glittery haze. Here comes the new year. Are you ready?
The beginning of a new year brings a lot of feelings to the surface of my mind. The older I get and the more years I leave and enter, the easier change becomes. Maybe it is because so many fears have been realized, and yet I have survived. And so many dreams have come true, yet the dazzle soon fades and we are left once again with a little pain, a lot of hope, and so very many blessings. I think that this is what contentment has come to mean to me. Not fatalistic apathy. Not Pollyanna-esc silver lining-searching. But simply enough consistent happiness in my blessings to endure the storms, and smile at the sunshine, without dying or living for either.
Welcome to Philosophy & Poached Pears.
As we prepare ourselves for another round of joyous celebration, bountiful goodies, and all the bubbly, I am here with a simple offering of subtly glamorous poached pears.
If you are new to poached fruit territory, welcome, and allow me to introduce you to one of the simplest, most dazzling desserts you can make.
Poached pears can be found at the corner of minimal effort and undeniable glamour.
While traditional recipes will demand a bold, red wine, I wanted to give these pears the full New Year’s treatment, so I obviously turned to a light, dry, sparkling Brut, which makes a fine, economical substitute for real-deal Champagne.
I also threw together an infused sugar by combining granulated sugar, rosemary, and a whole lot of lime zest in my food processor. It is super quick and easy, but packs a punch of fresh, wintry flavor.
The sugar, a bit of fresh ginger, and our pseudo Champagne get cozy in your favorite medium saucepan and in go the pears.
The pears will simmer for about twenty minutes, until fork tender. If cooked properly, these pears will be soft enough to be eaten with a spoon.
To serve, you may slice them in half and use a small teaspoon to remove the core, or treat each guest to their own individual pear. Either way, they are a showstopper.
The pears practically burst with the flavor of bubbly, with herbaceous notes from the rosemary, spice from the ginger, and a punch of fresh acidity from the lime zest.
There are many mixed feelings around this time of year, but with these pears in front of me, they all fade into one solitary exclamation - “yum!”
Happy New Year!!
Champagne Poached Pears with Rosemary & Lime
yields 4 pears / serves 4-8*
*Cook’s Note: To serve, you may slice them in half and use a small teaspoon to remove the core, or treat each guest to their own individual pear.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sprigs rosemary
zest of 3 large limes or 6 small
1, 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 bottle Champagne or a dry, sparkling white wine
4 Bartlett pears, peeled
Combine sugar, rosemary, and lime zest in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse until the rosemary is finely chopped and all ingredients are well combined.
Pour the sugar into a 4-quart saucepan, along with ginger and champagne. Allow the foam to settle, then bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring often, until the sugar has melted.
Add the pears to the liquid and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and gently flip the pears, using a small set of tongs to grab hold of the stems, not the pears themselves. . Return the lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Allow the pears to cool until just warm. Then, remove the pears from the liquid and serve. Enjoy!
Cook’s Note: Alternatively, you can keep the pears in the liquid and refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat by returning the pan to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Once the pears are warm, remove the pan from the heat and serve. Just be careful not to cook the pears too much longer, as they can become mushy.