It's one of my favourite desserts for a while now: simple, elegant, exotic and very importantly, can be prepared in advance! I served this for CNY dinner (for 16 people in all no less!) so you can imagine what a good thing it was to be able to be done with dessert preparation beforehand. Try it for yourself, and tell me you're not bowled over!
Ingredients:7g Sencha green tea leaves1L water
2 ripe but firm Williams pears
150g brown sugar
3 slices of ginger
Optional: 100g brown sugar
1/ Prepare the green tea by steeping the Sencha leaves in hot (but not boiling) water for 6 minutes.
2/ In the meantime, peel and halve the pears. Remove the core and leave the pears in a bowl of water with lemon juice to avoid browning.
3/ In a medium saucepan, add the tea (with no leaves), brown sugar and ginger slices. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
4/ Reduce heat to low and add pear halves to the tea, cut side up.
5/ To keep the pears submerged in the poaching liquid, cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the pan and lay it on top of the pears. (photo on right)
6/ Poach over low heat for 15-25 minutes, until the pears are soft at its thickest part when tested with a toothpick.
7/ Remove saucepan from heat and leave the pears in the poaching liquid at room temperature. Once cool, refridgerate them for at least an hour prior to serving. The poached pears may be kept up to 2 days in the fridge.
Optional: To prepare a syrup, return 200ml of poaching liquid to the saucepan and add 100g of brown sugar. Stir over low heat, until reduced to a thick syrup. The syrup may be kept several days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.
When it comes to choosing pears, be sure that they are ripe but still rather firm to the touch. An overly ripe pear will become extremely fragile after poaching. For now, I've only tried Williams, also known as Bartlett pears, but Conference and Bosc pears are supposedly suitable for poaching too.
Now now, a dessert by zejunkie without any hint of chocolate? Well I have to tell you, I tried it and it is much better without. The Sencha flavour is so subtle that any amount of chocolate would be too overwhelming... Heresy! Blasphemy! Burn the dark chocolate witch!