Pears are one of my least loved fruits when eaten out of hand, but when they're poached in butter, sugar, vanilla, and spice, well, that's another story. Normally, you immerse the pears in a flavorful liquid, such as wine or sugar syrup, and cook them on the stove top. Then, after they're poached, the cooking liquid needs to be reduced to concentrate its flavors.
Poaching the pears sous vide, however, creates pears that are perfectly soft without the need for several cups of liquid. Instead, a sweetened compound butter melts and moistens the pears. While they cook, the pears release their luscious juices, and voil? -- the undiluted essence of pear and vanilla is captured in the food bag. To serve, slice and fan the pear halves, top with the buttery juices, and before you know it, you've got a lovely dessert.
If you're craving a more dramatic presentation, drizzle the pears with chocolate or caramel sauce. Whip up some heavy cream, flavor it with the juices in the food bag, and garnish each serving with a generous dollop. Just in case you're feeling indulgent, I've included my recipe for Sea Salt Caramel Sauce.
Sous Vide Vanilla Poached Pears
Published: May 24, 2012
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 to 1½ Hours
Finishing Time: 5 Minutes
Temperature: 185°F / 85°C
Serves: 2 People
Sous Vide Vanilla Poached Pears Ingredients
2 ripe medium pears, such as Bartlett, peeled, halved through the stem end, and cored
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1½ tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
¼ teaspoon ground star anise
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
Sous Vide Vanilla Poached Pears Directions
- Preheat the water bath to 185?F (85?C).
- Drizzle lemon juice over all surfaces of the pears to prevent discoloration.
- Mash the butter with the sugar, vanilla paste, and star anise until well blended. Place half of the compound butter in a food bag and add 2 pear halves and a vanilla bean half. Vacuum seal. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Cook the pears in the water oven for 1 hour, or until the pears are just tender. Depending on the variety and ripeness of your pears, this could take an additional 15 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the pears from the bags and reserve the juices. Using a small knife, make several parallel cuts starting 1? below the top (stem end) of the pear, slicing lengthwise to the base. Press gently to fan the slices. Repeat with the remaining pears. Drizzle with the warm juices and serve immediately.
Sea Salt Caramel Sauce Recipe
By my standards, salt and caramel are a match made in heaven. I like to serve this rich, buttery sauce with the Vanilla Poached Pears, but it's also terrific with ice cream or drizzled over a dense chocolate torte. Because of the cream and butter, this version of caramel sauce is not shelf-stable, so be sure to refrigerate anything left over. That never happens in my house, but perhaps you have more restraint....
Makes about 1½ cups
Sea Salt Caramel Sauce Ingredients
1 cup superfine sugar
⅓ cup hot water
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Maldon salt or fleur de sel
Sea Salt Caramel Sauce Instructions
Combine the sugar and water in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan. I find it easier to make caramel in a 12- or 14-inch skillet. Because of the skillet's greater surface area, the sugar caramelizes more rapidly and evenly, and I feel more in control of the process.
Place the pan of your choice over medium heat and stir until the sugar melts. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook without stirring until the syrup is a deep amber hue, swirling the pan as the syrup begins to color to ensure that it caramelizes evenly. Add the cream carefully as the mixture will bubble and spit. Reduce the heat to low and whisk until the sauce is thick and creamy. Then stir in the butter and the salt, whisking until smooth.
Serve the sauce hot or warm. It can be kept covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Reheat over very low heat or in the microwave until the sauce reaches pourable consistency.
This recipe is part of our fantastic Sweet Sous Vide
feature full of great recipes by SVKitchen.com
. We will add new Sweet Sous Vide recipes every other week so if you are interested in learning how to use your sous vide machine to make great sweets and desserts then check back often!