Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Warm Winter Fruit: Poached Pears

As I watch the icicles forming on the bird feeders, my mind drifts to one of the trickiest aspects of being open year-round: finding fresh fruit and figuring out ways to serve it warm in the depths of the frigid season.

After years of trial and error we have found three types of fruit that are generally available even in December, January, and February. Fortunately (or unfortunately) those are the months least likely to produce full houses or lengthy stays, so you need less variety than in July and August where you might be full (16 people) four or five days a week and some guests will stay for a week or more.

This is an offering with less sweetness and more spice. Begin by peeling, coring and halving as many firm pears as needed for your crowd. The finished pears will keep in the fridge for a week so you might want to make extras.
Blueberry Cove Bed and Breakfast InnBoth Bartlett and Anjou varieties work well in this dish. Place the prepped pears in a wide-bottomed fairly deep pan and pour in enough cranberry juice to cover the fruit. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks and four or five cloves (more of each if you’re poaching more than six pears). Romantic winter get- awaysCover the pot and put the mixture on the lowest possible flame for 35-45 minutes. You want them simmering, not boiling away. You’ll know they’re done when the pears have absorbed some of the color from the cranberry juice and are still firm to the touch but can be pierced easily with a fork. (If you zone out and overcook the pears just mash them up into a coarse sauce like chunky apple sauce.) Refrigerate overnight and heat for about 5 minutes over a low flame before serving. These are also great just chilled if your climate is a bit more tropical.

We like to plate the pears with a puddle of vanilla yogurt and serve granola on the side. The plates always come back to the kitchen clean which is a great ego booster for the cook.Narragansett breakfast treats
Our other favorite warm fruits involve apples and grapefruit. Check back for the other recipes that work for me on Wednesdays.

posted by Head Cook Dave