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Poached Pears with Mint Custard


I love poached pears. When I used to live with my grandmother, we would make these often in the cold winter months. You can cook them on the stovetop, or bake them (add less tea) in a covered pan for about an hour. If you bake them, you can stuff the cavities with dried fruit and nuts. NOTE: all these measurements are rough.

Poached Pears with Mint Custard

6-8 Pears
2 Tbl Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Sweet Wine
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
1/2-1 cup Strongly Brewed Jasmine Tea
pinch salt
a few Quarter-Sized Slices of Fresh Ginger
a few Star Anise

Rinse, halve, core and optionally peel the pear. Mix the other ingredients together in a saucepan. Taste for sweetness. Add the pears; they should be more than half covered with liquid. Cook until the pears are tender and flavoured, stirring occasionally (15-30 min, depending on ripeness). Scoop them out into a bowl, and cook the remaining sauce on high until reduced and syrupy, about 10 more minutes.

2 cups soymilk
1 Tbl Maple Syrup
1-2 tsp Dried Peppermint
2 Tbl Arrowroot Powder
1/4 c. Water

Heat the soymilk and peppermint just below the boiling point. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. Strain. Rinse out pan, and add arrowroot mixed with cold water. Whisk in pepperminty soymilk and maple syrup (custard should not be very sweet). Cook, stirring constantly, until a bit thick.

To serve, place a couple pear halves in a bowl, top with mint custard, and top with a small spoonful of syrup. Add a few candied ginger if you have any lying around.