Poached Coffee-Vanilla Pears with Mocha Macarons

I’m sure we’re not alone. How many times have you looked for a sophisticated dessert but it has to be super light, gluten free, simple but effective? Now that we’ve had our fill of Christmas puddings, pumpkin pies, yule logs, mince pies, fruit cakes and chocolates in all forms, who’s ready to start all over again to bring in the New Year with yet more gastronomic pleasures? Count me in, as long as it’s slightly lighter this time.

 When entertaining the French, it took me a few years to work out that menus need to be planned carefully; if I’m serving a large main course after an amuse-bouche (something small to tickle the tastebuds before the meal) then starter/hors-d’oeuvres – and then it’s followed with an ambitious taste-of-the-regions cheese board – it can be difficult keeping up when a heavy finale to the meal is served. I used to love doing that and soon learned the hard way. With a thud.

The French could have a crise cardiaque (heart attack) if they see a large pudding arrive, piled high on their plate and since they’re polite, they wade through it and suffer in silence. I’m now the same. Have you ever had that feeling of just being so stuffed that you’re kicking-yourself-for-being-so-greedy uncomfortable?

 For light dessert inspiration, I pounced straight away on Anne-Sophie Pic’s French cookbook, Recettes Pour Recevoir. The Michelin-starred chef has put together her cooking lessons for ideal recipes aimed at entertaining. Claudia, aka Journey of an Italian Cook, talked more about Anne-Sophie Pic’s career last week and shares her tomato chutney.)

Anne-Sophie Pic’s dessert for a poached pear in vanilla and blackcurrant with a coffee fondant seemed a perfectly light and chic end to a meal. What really caught me eye, though, is that it would be beautifully peared (couldn’t help myself, sorry) with macarons.

My first try with the cassis macaron – terrible photo!

That would definitely keep my French friends happy. But I can’t just copy a recipe from a cookbook. So, I inversed the flavours: the fondant au café and vanilla tuile was replaced by a tutti-frutti blackcurrant macaron (see p.83 of Mad About Macarons!) and the blackcurrant poaching sauce was replaced by a coffee sauce. My first try. Shame about the presentation, Jimmy. However, dead easy and the dessert was now totally gluten-free.

What I love about macarons is that they can be made a few days in advance (or even frozen and taken out the freezer 1 hour before serving at room temperature) so you can stay zen while preparing the rest of the meal.

Not only can you serve them as a double bill with chocolate-coffee macarons, but if you have left-over chocolate ganache from your macarons, then warm it gently and offer it as a triple whammy with the pear and vanilla-coffee syrup.

 By serving a light dessert like this, nobody feels the need to stuff themselves more than they wish. The paradox is that when you do serve them on a large platter in the middle of the table, I’ve noticed that guests tend to eat much more than they were intending. But hey, that’s their problem. I’m no longer responsible for their hidden macaronivore tendencies…

Poached Coffee Vanilla Pears with Mocha Macarons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20+20 minutes

150g sugar
1 litre water
1 vanilla pod, cut lengthways
2 tbsps coffee granules
4 large firm pears

  1. Boil the sugar with the water, vanilla and coffee in a heavy based casserole dish or saucepan. Once boiling, turn down the heat.
  2. Peel the pears and cut them in half horizontally. Place them in the syrup and poach them gently with lid on for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the pears and set aside.
  4. Boil up the coffee syrup for about 20 minutes until concentrated and thickened.

I usually place the left over coffee syrup in a jam jar, sealed in the fridge. Over the next few days, just heat it gently and pour over ice cream.

Serve with chocolate-mocha macarons (simply add 2 tbps of granulated coffee to the heating cream while making your classic chocolate ganache. Recipe on page 47 of Mad About Macarons!) Or infuse the bruised seeds from 4 cardamom pods to the coffee poaching liquid, remove, and serve with chocolate, cardamom & ginger macarons (see page 56 of Mad About Macarons!)

Indulge…

 

Wishing you all a very Healthy Sweet New Year 2012
and that
2012 is filled with love, health, happiness and many delicious Parisian macarons!

As they say in Scotland, “Lang mae yer lum reek!”
(literally translated, long may your chimney smoke – to your good health)

et

Bonne Année 2012

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25 Responses to Poached Coffee-Vanilla Pears with Mocha Macarons

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 6, 2012 at 06:16 #

    What a GORGEOUS dessert dish Jill! Looks like restaurant plate, seriously! I love this sophisticated dessert after a great meal. It will surely complete the meal without disappointment.

  2. Emily @ Life on Food January 3, 2012 at 21:51 #

    Happy Happy New Year! Your photos are beautiful. Poaching fruit is one things that scares me to death. I have yet to try it so it might just all be in my head. This is inspiring.

  3. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kicthen January 3, 2012 at 00:34 #

    I love poached pears and the mocha macarons sound like such a wonderful accompaniment. Yummy! :)

  4. i’ve always been a pear-lover and since I start baking I loved adding them to desserts. Even if it’s not baked, poached pears do make me drool.
    Happy New Year Jill! Wish you all the best!

  5. parisbreakfast January 2, 2012 at 13:52 #

    OMG!
    simply gorgeous and I LOVE the angular sides of the pear!
    I much prefer fruity desserts after a heavy or any meal – the acid cleanses the palette don’t you think?
    BRAVO Jill (again)

  6. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen January 2, 2012 at 10:02 #

    Jill, my screen disappeared mid comment so if I’m repeating myself, that’s why. Happy New Year lovely lassie and what a way to kick it off with such a beautiful elegant dessert. They must be queuing round the block for invites to dinner at Chez Colonna. You’ve pre’pear’ed a stunner and I love how you ‘pear’ed these unusual flavours.

    p.s. I laughed when I ready your magic porridge pot comment – that’s exactly what I had in mind!

  7. Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch January 2, 2012 at 03:40 #

    These looks so divine! I love poached pears and I will have to try making macaroons soon, it’s on the to do list for 2012! Happy New Year!

  8. clara turbay January 1, 2012 at 23:24 #

    Happy new year, i wish you the best love this post!

    http://paquetevistasbien.blogspot.com

  9. All That I'm Eating January 1, 2012 at 18:46 #

    This sounds so nice. How could anyone not eat all of it? I haven’t yet poached my own pears, they always look so good when they’re done and with coffee, what a nice change.

  10. Sandra's Easy Cooking December 31, 2011 at 19:07 #

    This look absolutely amazing..and I love pears!!!
    I wish you fantastic New Year, full of joy and happiness!!!!

  11. Kim - Liv Life December 31, 2011 at 16:55 #

    I’m with you on “pearing” done the calories!! It’s been a season of eating with abandon, and my waistline is showing it. Pears have been one of my favorite fruits since I was little, but it’s only been recently that I’ve started putting them into desserts. This one would be a treat!
    Happy New Year to you and your family Jill!!!

  12. Tina@flourtrader December 31, 2011 at 14:03 #

    This does look like an awesome dessert, the flavor combo just has me so wanting to taste this. I am so glad we became friends this year. After seeing all your posts, I can truly say that I can pick up anything at the grocery store and you would be able to create something spectacular with a perfectly flavored pairing of a macaron. I have learned much from you and I can’t wait to see what you bring out in 2012!

  13. Sissi December 31, 2011 at 13:10 #

    I could certainly do with such a light and attractive dessert tonight! I wish I had pears or at least the courage to go out and buy them ;-) Of course I don’t even mention macarons. They are perfect with everything.
    I am in awe of Anne-Sophie Pic, especially given her professional career before she took on her father’s restaurant. I have almost bought the book you mention and then finally I had the one with her restaurant’s recipes (of course I haven’t made a single one, but I had expected so: it was a book to admire and read, not necessarily to cook from!). I hope I will go to taste her delights one day…
    Happy New Year, Jill! (I love the Scottish saying! I imagine how beautiful it would sound with the lovely rolled “r” )

  14. Lora December 31, 2011 at 10:08 #

    Absolutely gorgeous dessert! what a lovely flavor combination. Happy New Year Jill! P.S. I LOVE your book.

  15. Amalia December 31, 2011 at 08:26 #

    A light dessert is definitely what I need! This looks so beautiful and sophisticated, not to mention delicious! That pear look so good, especially with that chocolate ganache and mocha macarons. I mean it doesn’t get any better than that, seriously! Thank you for the gorgeous dessert, I hope you have a wonderful New Year :)

  16. Amy December 31, 2011 at 02:40 #

    Hi Jill! This whole dish sounds amazing! The poached pears alone would be wonderful, but add in the macaroons and I am in heaven! Love the combination of flavors you have here. Best wishes to you in the New Year!

  17. Liz December 30, 2011 at 23:15 #

    Oh, yeah, I am so ready for some lighter desserts! Your poached pears are stunning…and perfectly paired (lol or peared) with another delicious macaron! Happy New Year to one of my favorite foodies!

  18. Tiffany December 30, 2011 at 23:12 #

    You poached the pears in coffee! How cool! I’ve poached pears in pureed strawberries mixed with wine, but never coffee. SUCH a great idea!

  19. Parsley Sage December 30, 2011 at 22:48 #

    Oh yes. I’m usually unbuttoning my pants on the ride home to keep from making CK pull over for my greedy-inner-pig. But…it always just.so.good!

    Lovely poached pears, darling! My mind is a little blown with the coffee-pear coupling. Intriguing!

    Buzzed

  20. Magic of Spice December 30, 2011 at 20:28 #

    Poached pears and coffee?! How delightful and how gorgeous! I always favor a light dessert and these are perfect, as well as are your macarons :)
    I hope you had a lovely holiday and wishing you a fantastic 2012!

  21. Terris@ Free Eats December 30, 2011 at 19:01 #

    This dessert is gluten-free heaven Jill! Absolutely elegant and sophisticated while still being approachable. Always love what you are doing here! Happy New Year and thanks for sharing another lovely series of photos and a great recipe. :)

  22. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) December 30, 2011 at 17:33 #

    I love, love, love this recipe. You are so right… I can barely look at heavy sweets right now. I would be overjoyed if this came to the table after a long meal.

  23. I’m ready for a salad or two and lots of fruit, yes. This is definitely a good way to start! I love the idea of poaching pears with coffee, especially since I adore coffee (raising my mug to you). Happy New Year, Jill!

  24. Kiri W. December 30, 2011 at 14:58 #

    I *love* vanilla poached pears, but with coffee? Man, I’d die for this! Looks fantastic and subtle and all kinds of wonderful!

  25. Claudia December 30, 2011 at 14:15 #

    You are so right – I am sated. It was with great happiness that I washed the now-empty cookie tins and put all away for a year. Enough! But I am still searching for a sweet occasionally – but don’t want the thuds! This is a beauty – love working with pears and have these tiny, flavorful pears that would also pair well…(tee hee). Thanks for the shout-out, Jill and wishing you the happiest New Year!

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