Consider this your excuse to eat cheese for dessert (not that you needed one). Burrata is like mozzarella gone rogue—a milky orb, filled with cheese curds and cream. Here, it guest-stars alongside a poached pear, where you’d normally find whipped cream or ice cream. I have a feeling you’ll like this even better. —Emma Laperruque
Bosc pears, firm (ripe in a few days), stem still attached
(750-ml) bottle dry vermouth
(128 grams) honey
flaky salt, plus more to finish
burrata, divided into 6 equal portions
In This Recipe
Find a pot that comfortably fits the 6 pears standing up. (For me, this was a 3-quart saucepan.)
Add the vermouth, water, honey, and a pinch of salt to the pot. Set on the stove over medium heat to bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves.
Meanwhile, peel the pears in big, long strips from stem to bottom. You want the pears as smooth as possible and for the stem to remain attached. (If you lose the stem by accident—no worries! It’ll still taste great.)
Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid. Cover the pears with a lid that’s one size too small for the pot, so it helps keep them submerged (depending on the size of your pot, they’ll probably slouch and lean over—that’s totally fine). Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (boiling is too brash for the fragile fruit).
Simmer the pears, covered, for 10 to 25 minutes. “That’s a big range!” you say. And you’re correct. But the only person who can say when your pear is perfectly done is you. Turn them every so often so they cook evenly. After 10 minutes, start checking them often so they don’t overcook. To check: Pierce the bottom of the pear with a cake tester or toothpick; it should meet little resistance. Since the pears will continue to cook off the heat (thanks to carry-over cooking), you want them slightly less tender than you’d like to serve them. When they’re your desired softness, remove the pears from the pot and add to a 2.5-quart baking dish. There’s a good chance that some will be ready before others; totally fine—just remove them first.
After you’ve removed the pears, raise the heat under the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the poaching liquid has thickened into a syrupy consistency and measures about 1 to 1 1/4 cups, depending on how thick you’d like it.
Pour the syrup over the pears. Refrigerate until totally chilled, at least 2 hours.
To serve the pears: Add each whole pear to a shallow bowl. Pour an even amount of syrup on top of each pear. Add 1 portion of burrata (about 2 ounces) alongside each pear. Sprinkle flaky salt on top. Eat with a spoon.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.