A beautiful and easy dessert that tastes richer than it really is. The pears require an overnight in their poaching liquid to infuse flavor. Just a few chocolate shavings add great taste without adding many more calories.
The components of this dish can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.
Servings: 10 - 12
- For the pears
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups water
- Zest of 1/2 orange, finely grated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 whole cloves
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 5 to 6 (about 3 pounds) Bartlett or Bosc pears
- For the vanilla creme
- 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sliced and toasted almonds, for garnish
- 1/4 cup chocolate shavings, for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the pomegranate juice, water, zest, sugar, dried fruit and spices. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and keep warm.
Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cores. As each pear is prepped, lower the halves into the warm poaching liquid. Cook the fruit for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is nearly tender. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the poaching liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, place the yogurt in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold it gently into the yogurt; refrigerate until ready to use. Strain the poaching liquid, reserving the cherries and raisins for garnish; discard the cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns. Heat 1 cup of the poaching liquid in a small saucepan over high heat for about 4 minutes, until it has reduced to 1/4 cup and has thickened to a syrup. Cool to room temperature.
To serve, cut each pear half into thin slices that are still connected at the top. Fan the pear halves on individual plates, then spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the creme alongside. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the syrup and sprinkle with the almonds and chocolate shavings. The reserved raisins and cherries can be used to garnish the plate. Serve immediately.
Adapted from pastry chef instructor Stephen Durfee at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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