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Steve and I had a lovely dinner over at Kim and Robin’s home. Kim grilled a fabulous swordfish on cedar planks and prepared pasta with her homemade marinara sauce. I was in charge of dessert and I was asked for fall flavors (but not apples). I started with poached pears, as my friend Allison went pear picking and had extra Bosc. I poached them in a honey, white wine and vanilla syrup. The recipe couldn’t be easier, and should be done ahead of time, so the pears have a chance to soak up the flavors. I thought the pears were good, not amazing. They were sweet and the right texture and but there was only a hint of wine and honey; I would have liked more flavor in the pears. I forgot that when foods are served cold, the flavors are more muted.
 
I decided that maybe just poached pears were too boring, so then I created a pumpkin mousse pie. I took the graham cracker crust with the chocolate ganache bottom from the beloved peanut butter mousse pie and combined it with Dave Liberman’s pumpkin mousse recipe.
 
Initially I thought I would serve it frozen, but I didn’t like the texture, so I let it come to room temperature. Unfortunately, the mousse had a structural integrity issue. If I had known that frozen wasn’t the way to go, I would have incorporated some gelatin in to the mousse and then it would have set up nicely. Still, the crust and chocolate went rather well with the pumpkin flavor and it was a nice alternative to traditional pumpkin pie.

Honey-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Bon Appétit
 
 
Ingredients
 
2 firm but ripe large Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese*
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons brandy or dark rum
 
Directions
 
Toss pears with lemon juice in large bowl. Set aside. Combine 1 cup water, wine and honey in medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning when half-way through cooking, about 15 minutes.
 
Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Cool syrup. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove vanilla bean.
 
Whisk mascarpone cheese, sugar and brandy in large bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chilled poaching syrup and whisk until soft peaks form.
 
Thinly slice each pear half lengthwise, leaving slices attached at stem end. Using metal spatula, transfer pears to plates. Gently press on pears to fan slightly. Spoon some syrup over pears. Spoon mascarpone cream alongside each pear half and serve.


Ingredients
 
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ginger snaps, for garnish
 
Directions
Combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream, sugar and spice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool fully.
Whip remaining heavy cream and vanilla to soft peaks and fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour into a serving dish and crumble the ginger snaps over top before serving.
 

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 24th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Don't be put off by the "structural issues." The pie was delicious! And the leftover pears were a nice breakfast treat the following day :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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