Saturday, November 23, 2013

Champagne Poached Pears with Buttery Bubbly Syrup



Sweet pears, drenched in buttery bubbly!



It's the holidays! For me, that's Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time to fill our kitchens with the sights, smells & sounds of the season-- cinnamon, cranberries, rosemary, laughter, music, twinkle lights and BUBBLY. Alcohol or not, we all like to enjoy some celebratory sparkling drinks this time of year!

Whenever I think of champagne, I think of Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in "An Affair To Remember." Nickie is smitten with the beautiful quick-witted red-haired Terry. Nickie goes to the bar and after remembering that Terry had mentioned liking pink champagne, he orders some and then disappears to the bathroom. While he's gone, Terry sits down and orders the same. A little confused when the bartender places two glasses of pink champagne in front of her, she looks over and sees Nickie walking her way. Some nosey shipmates slide into the seats next to Nickie & Terry to try and hear their conversation, so Terry asks Nickie, "Do you speak Gaelic?"

"Fluently," Nickie responds matter-of-factly.

"How do you say, 'Let's get out of here?'"

As Terry stands up to leave, she dabs a little pink champagne behind both ears and gives the nosey women a scolding glance. Talk about classy!

"Pink champagne-- that's the kind of life we've both been used to," Terry later says to Nickie trying to inject a little reality into their emotional whirlwind of an affair.

Champagne. It's celebratory and indulgent-- sounds a little like the holidays, doesn't it?

I don't like to make desserts often, because that's not really what the Paleo lifestyle is about. But, it is the holidays after all, and when my husband received a fruit basket for Thanksgiving from his employer, I laid claim to those pears! I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but then I passed a display of champagne in the store and it couldn't have been more clear.

Champagne Poached Pears with Champagne Butter Syrup


Poached Pears


Ingredients:


4 pears cored (you can peel them if you want, but I leave the skin on)
1-2 cups champagne (or sweet white wine)
1/2 cup coconut sugar

Directions:


Choose a pot/pan that is large enough for all 4 pears to fit on their sides without overlapping (they can be touching), that's deep enough to allow liquid to come up about halfway up the pears, and that has a lid. Pour in 1-2 cups of champagne-- enough to reach halfway up the pears. Add coconut sugar and blend. Place pears on their sides in the pan. Place over medium-low heat and put the lid on. Let the pears cook slowly, turning them occasionally. Cook until tender, but not too soft. When done, remove pears from the pan and allow to cool.

Buttery Bubbly Syrup


Ingredients:


Liquid from poaching pears
2 Tbs ghee or grass fed butter

Directions:


After removing the pears from the liquid to cool, add butter. Increase heat just a bit (not all the way to medium). Leave uncovered and allow to simmer until it thickens a bit. Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool

Pastry

Note: This does not work well for a full pie, because in order to maintain shape, this has to be heavy on the tapioca starch. The texture doesn't translate well to pies. But, I am currently working on a pie crust, so stay tuned!

Ingredients:


2 eggs
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup coconut flour

Directions:


Mix eggs and coconut flour with a fork. Slowly add tapioca starch and continue to mix with fork until it becomes difficult. Then continue adding the tapioca starch blending with your hands. You should have a dough with a pastry consistency-- kneadable. Remove from the bowl and knead dough a bit until any crumbling stops. Place the ball of dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to about a centimeter thick. Cut out leaf shapes. I have a leaf shaped pastry cutter, which makes this easy. If you don't, just use a pairing knife to cut out leaves. You could also use a round metal cookie cutter to make 4 circles.

To Finish:


This is their favorite part!
Preheat oven to 375* F. Once pears have cooled, slice a little bit off of the bottom, allowing them to sit up straight. Place on a cookie sheet standing up. Place the leaves around the stems. If you made circles, simply slide them over the top, pushing the stem through the middle, making a kind of "hat" of dough. Cover the stem with a little foil to prevent it from burning and looking ugly. Place the pears in the oven gently and cook until crusts are golden brown. Around 15 minutes for the leaves. It might take closer to 20 minutes if you do circles.

Tips:

BE GENTLE with the dough. It will roll out and cut easily, but use a metal spatula to remove the shapes, and be extremely careful when placing them on the pear. They can fall apart easily. This is just unfortunately the nature of Paleo crusts. This one is easier to work with than others I've made, though.

Plating:


Once done, allow to cool in the pan. Remove carefully and place on a plate. Pour the syrup over the top of the pear and ENJOY!

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