All the dessert lovers of the world, in my opinion belong to two broad categories. The chocolate lovers and the non-chocolate lovers (do they even exist?). Okay, let me rephrase that…the chocolate lovers and the fruits-over-chocolate lovers. And of course, there are the ones like me who fall somewhere in between. The ones who like to enjoy the best of both worlds!
Poached fruits make for a fancy yet healthy dessert. Though I have experimented with various fruits, pears are my favourite poach-able fruit. Not only do they take in the colour and the flavour, of the poaching liquid (which can be totally customised to your preference), they are pretty simple to cook with a handful of ingredients and can be made ahead in time. At one time, I was so obsessed with poaching pears in different combinations that I think I would have to create a separate category if I had to blog about them. The bottom line is, that the possibilities with them are endless.
There are so many varieties of pears to choose from but I personally prefer to use the Bosc pears as they retain their long slender shape well. Though it’s a fairly simple process, they key is not to undercook or overcook the pears. What we are looking for is a firm fruit, cooked evenly, without resistance when you cut through with a spoon. For this purpose, the pears need to be turned around in between. Also, letting the pears cool down in the liquid, intensifies the flavour and colour.
The chocolate sauce complements the deep flavour of the raspberries and elevates the dessert to a whole new level. I have included a non dairy version of the sauce too that will be slightly thinner than the first one but tastes almost as good. You can have the pears warm or cold. I like them warm with a bit of whipped cream to go alongside.
Raspberry Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
4 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled and cored
For the chocolate sauce
100 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup pouring cream/single cream
25 g butter
For a dairy free, chocolate sauce
1 tbsp castor sugar
½ cup cocoa
¼ cup boiling water
Trim the bottom of the pear to make a flat surface so it can stand upright. Retain the stems for a nice presentation. Combine all the ingredients except the pears in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, bring it to a boil, stirring in between till the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently add the pears. Cover and cook till tender turning in between until cooked evenly. To test this, poke with a fork. Remove from heat. Let the pears stand in the poaching liquid till cool. Remove the pears and strain the liquid to remove seeds or any fruit bits that may be present.
Pour the liquid back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce it till it reaches a syrupy consistency. Keep aside.
For the chocolate sauce, heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, add the chocolate and whisk until melted, add the butter and continue to whisk until well combined.
For the dairy free version, combine sugar, cocoa and boiling water in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth.
To Serve, place a poached pear on a plate. Pour over the reduced raspberry sauce. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce. Add a dollop of whipped cream or pipe little flowers of whipped cream around the pear.