When my mother moved in to her new house in Bolinas, CA a few years back, I found a basic recipe (from which I adapted this recipe) for parchment poached pears scribbled on legal paper and tucked into the dust jacket of an old Joy of Cooking... So I copied it down with some liberal additions/substitutions as you do, and have been working on it since! Here is my result: Rich warmth with lots of spicy and subtle flavor but avoiding heaviness in stride makes it perfect for after big holiday meals and is sure to please!
Notes on flavor: remember that once you've made it a few times and have it down, as with almost any recipe you can think of, don't be afraid to experiment with quality and quantity of ingredients to find what suits your personal taste! - Pastry Ninja —Pastry Ninja
Test Kitchen Notes
This was super easy to pull together since there are no real measurements, just assembly. I put the pears in the oven after taking dinner out and set the timer for 15 minutes, then turned off the heat and left them in the oven until we were ready for dessert -- so I'd say this is a great weeknight dessert. Instead of the chopped pear called for, I used a Bosc pear halved and cored, baking each half wrapped in parchment with the spices, because there really is no prettier presentation than half a poached pear. The tea stained the pear a lovely shade of pink, and I used a vanilla sugar in place of the agave. The mascarpone cream was a lovely nutty rich counterpoint to the very light pear, though go easy on the extract as it can get boozy very quickly. This was a nice light dessert -- if you can call whipped mascarpone light! I topped my portion with a crumbled maple cream cookie and it was sublime. So, add a crispy cookie like a sable or shortbread for the perfect amount of crunch and richness. - MGrace —MGrace
Poached Pear Pacckets
14" Parchment Paper Circles
Ripe but slightly firm, medium Bartlett or Red Bartlett Pears
3 - 4 tablespoons
Light Agave Nectar
Unsalted Butter, Room Temp.
Fresh Grated Ginger
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Loose Red Chai or any Quality Red Tea
Almond Mascarpone Cream
Heavy Whipping Cream
Light Agave Nectar
Pure Almond Extract or Almond Liquor
In This Recipe
Preheat your oven to bake at 425F and start cutting out your 14" parchment circles. I used a pie crust protector or a large plate for mine. Just be sure to cut them large enough or the packets wont seal properly when cooking.
Make your cream first to save time, mess and counter space later. Combine mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and sugar then whisk until it just begins to thicken. Add almond flavor and whisk until it reaches a firm peak state. Contact cover with wrap and set aside in the fridge.
Next, prepare your ingredients for the pear packets: Take butter out of the fridge, grate ginger, grind pepper, and measure out sugar and tea. Place your flavor ingredients in pinch bowls or the equivalent for easy access.
Wash and slice your pears length wise then remove the cores with either a spoon or even better with a melon baller. Slice them, skin on, into about domino sized pieces. The thicker, the firmer here but dont go much thicker than 1/4" or thinner than 1/8"... I like to do this step as needed and just before assembly so the enzymes in the pears don't have a chance to brown the flesh when exposed to oxygen in the air
Time to start your assembly! Place about 1/2 to 3/4 of a pear in a little stack in the center of your parchment circle. Add a pinch of pepper, pinch or tea, sugar or agave to , small dash of lemon juice then top with 1/2 teaspoon ginger and lastly with 1 healthy teaspoon butter. Take the edges of the parchment circle in 4 places, bring them together and twist to seal. Be sure to get a good, tight twist on these little packets so steam cant escape too readily while baking.
Place the packets in a shallow sheet pan and bake 10 - 14 minutes until the twisted tops of the parchment start to turn brown. Remove from heat and serve stil wrapped packets in small bowls along with small cups of cream. I like to serve the cream in espresso cups or small teacups for some extra flare. Enjoy!