Autumn desserts are special somehow. Pears in season are one of the best parts of my culinary life. Try Pear Pie this year if you haven't already, or for a lighter touch try out these poached beauties-lightly scented with ginger and lemon-for a warm finish to a fall meal.
3 nearly ripe pears - Bartlett end up softer, Anjou firmer
1 cup sugar
2 slices lemon
2-3 small knobs of ginger root
4 cups warm water
Slice pears in half lengthwise. Core with a spoon and scoop seeds out. Leave stem intact if desired. Heat sugar, lemon, ginger and water in a large pan until sugar is dissolved. Peel pear halves and place in heated water. Cover and bring to a light simmer. Reduce heat to maintain this level of simmer. Poach for 6 minutes then with a slotted spoon remove pears to a covered dish to keep warm. Remove and discard 2 cups of the poaching liquid. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until volume is halved. Discard the lemon and ginger. Serve by placing a pear half in a bowl, topping with Cardamom Creme (see below) about 2 tablespoons of the reduced syrup and pistachios.
Hints: I prefer the softer Bartlett pear but the Anjou is nice, too. If the Bartlett is too ripe, it will not hold it's shape when poached and become mushy. Boiling the pears will also cause them to break down too much, so be sure and just simmer lightly. The reduced liquid will be quite hot so be careful handling it.
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 (plus more to taste) tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 (plus more to taste) teaspoon ground cardamom
Stir together and taste. If desired, add more cardamom or brown sugar to taste. Serve with poached pears or apples.
This creme is also great as a dip for fruit platters or as fruit salad dressing.