Chai Poached Pears with Salted Caramel

 

Fragrant chai elevates the humble pear in this simple recipe. These chai poached pears are delicious in their own right and make for the perfect dessert served with a drizzle of salted caramel, a spoonful of mascarpone and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Alternatively, you may wish to enjoy them atop your favourite porridge, rice pudding or simply with vanilla ice cream for a little extra indulgence. If serving the pears with salted caramel as intended, I’ve kept the sugar to a minimum to avoid the balance being too sweet, but you may wish to add a little more sugar when poaching if your palate desires.

Makes 5 poached pears and 375ml salted caramel sauce

INGREDIENTS

Chai Poached Pears

  • 5 buerre bosc pears, washed, peeled & cored

  • 5L water

  • 1 star anise

  • 2 cinnamon stick

  • 5 cloves

  • 5 peppercorns

  • 12 cardamom pods, cracked

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 200g mascarpone (optional, to serve)

  • 30-40g toasted slivered almonds (optional, to serve)

  • 10-15 edible flowers (violas, optional, to serve)

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 250g caster sugar

  • 250g pure cream

  • 50g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped

  • 1-3 tsp good quality sea salt (to taste)

 

METHOD

Chai Poached Pears

  1. Place water, spices and sugar into a large pot and allow to simmer 5 minutes for flavours to infuse.

  2. Add pears and simmer again for 10-15 minutes, turning intermittently. When poached well, the pears should maintain their shape, but be soft enough to be eaten with a spoon.

  3. Allow pears to cool in pot, then remove and discard liquid.

  4. Pears can be kept refrigerated for 1-2 days prior to serving.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Heat cream in small saucepan until hot and steamy, then set aside.

  2. Place one third of the sugar in a large saucepan and melt over low-medium heat.

  3. Continue adding small additions of sugar to the melted, until all the sugar has melted, and you have achieved a dark, amber colour.

  4. Remove melted sugar from heat, and quickly stir in butter and warmed cream, mixing thoroughly and taking great care not to burn yourself as the hot caramel bubbles and rises in the saucepan.

  5. Return pan to heat and continue mixing until smooth and thick (10-12 minutes).

  6. Allow to cool slightly, then add salt to taste.

  7. Leave to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container or sterilised jar if not using immediately.

 To Serve

  1. Place pears in bowls, drizzle with salted caramel, and serve with mascarpone and a sprinkle of toasted almonds for a delicious dessert. Decorate with edible flowers such as violas if desired.

  2. Alternatively, enjoy pears and caramel as an indulgent topping on your porridge, rice pudding or ice cream.

 Salma Sabdia is the creative powerhouse behind fabulous baking blog, The Polka Dotter. Click here to check out her blog, here to follow her on Instagram and here on Facebook.