December 4th, 2010
Cinnamon, Vanilla And Pink Pepper Poached Pears With Dulce De Leche, Dried Figs & Pistachios
I’m really fortunate to see my father more often than would otherwise be, since work brings him to where I live quite often. And since he loves fruits, I love to make fruit desserts for him. I poached these pears with some of my favourite spices when my parents were visiting us this week. I made lots of vegetables employing various methods of cooking, stir frying, grilling and baking them up and this was the perfect pairing with all those vegetables.
My parents actually grow pink pepper and using this here was a perfect tribute to their produce. Pink pepper has such a delicate flavour and such a lovely colour. It looks so appealing and pretty and milder in comparison to black and white pepper, has a special sweet character of its own. It is no secret that I love cinnamon and vanilla. I used them whole here allowing their flavours to seep into the pears.
The poached pears are topped with one of my favourites Dulce De Leche. There are various ways to make homemade Dulce De Leche, some are tedious and laborious and some are not. The easiest and the best way to make it at home is with a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is an indispensable part of almost any kitchen here in India. It saves time and energy and preserves nutrients. And if the basic instructions are followed and if it is not left unattended, it is quite safe to use.
Dulce de Leche is so smooth & creamy and so delectable. All you need to make it at home is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a pressure cooker. Drizzled over poached pears, it oozes out all its caramel goodness. You can make so many wonderful preparations with this or eat it straight out of the can. Either way, it won’t disappoint!
The chopped dried figs and the crushed pistachios sprinkled over dulce de leche add crunch and colour making this visually appealing and providing the palate different textures in a single bite. The softness of the poached pears, the smoothness of dulce de leche, the chewiness of the dried figs and the crunch of pistachios, all come together in a delightful spoon. I bet you can’t go wrong with this one and you are sure to stun your family and friends with this beautiful and elegant dessert.
Cinnamon, Vanilla & Pink Pepper Poached Pears With Dulce De Leche, Dried Figs & Pistachios Recipe
For the poached pears
3 medium sized firm pears, cut into halves
1 cinnamon stick, about 2”
1 vanilla bean, slit
1 tsp or more pink peppercorns
2 tbsp sugar
In a large stockpot or a cocotte, place the halved pears and all the other ingredients. Pour enough water over the pears and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife runs through the pears.
For the dulce de leche
1 can (400 gm), sweetened condensed milk
Place the condensed milk in a pressure cooker with water running half way through it. Close the lid with the pressure valve and put it to cook on medium heat. After the first whistle, lower the flame and cook for 30 minutes for a light caramel coloured dulce de leche and for 40 to 45 minutes for a deeper coloured and thicker dulce de leche. I prefer cooking it for 30 minutes as I like the sauce to be runny.
4 to 5 dried figs, chopped
10 to 12 pistachios, crushed in a mortar & pestle
Carefully remove the pears and place them over a plate lined with tissue paper to absorb the water. Once drained, place the pears in a serving plate and spoon some dulce de leche over the pears. Sprinkle the chopped figs and crushed pistachios over the dulce de leche. Serve at room temperature or chilled.