One of the things that I LOVE about what I do is that I'm constantly discovering new flavor combinations and exposing myself to new types of food. Pears have not even once made an appearance on the blog before - not because I'd never had a pear before obviously, but because I was never really that enthused by them. All that changes now.
I don't know if poaching pears sounds like a scary thing to most people or not, but up until a week ago, it was a total unknown for me, which means that it intimated me just a little bit. Except now you guys, NOW, I'm officially convinced this is the best way to eat a pear: poaching it - with champagne - and serving it with a sweet, honey-like almond champagne sauce and almond whipped cream. The. Best.
Since we're now in the thick of fall, and therefore the season of USA Pears, I figured it was about time to learn to love these little guys, and since I also happen to love champagne/prosecco/all sparkling white wine, I was all in to try out champagne-poached pears over the traditional red wine-poached pears (but still incorporating wine because - hello! - it's wine). Then I saw almond champagne at the store, and since I pretty much leap at any chance to incorporate almond extract into a recipe, I was sold. So I poached the pears up in an almond champagne-vanilla bean-sugar mixture, boiled the sauce down to create this dangerously-good sweet almond champagne syrup, and threw together an almond (and vanilla bean) whipped cream, and holymoly I ended up with something way better than I even imagined. And you guys --- it was SO easy. Barely any hands-on time and you have this super fancy-shmancy looking dessert that makes you look like the kind of person who knows how to do skilled things like poach pears. (Except you do, and you did, and it was S I M P L E.)
So for reals, while pear season is still in full swing, go grab a few (a little under-ripe is really good for poaching) + some champagne and do this ASAP. Also? Don't skip the almond whipped cream. Just don't.
P.S. If you're now thinking something like, "Which pears do I buy? There are so many kinds!!", I used USA Pears's Green Anjou Pears and they worked perfectly here. :)Print
Almond Champagne Poached Pears with Almond Whipped Cream
Fresh pears poached in almond champagne make for an elegant and low-maintenance dessert.
- Yield: 4 poached pears 1x
Almond Champagne Poached Pears
- 1 (750 mL) bottle (about 3 cups) almond champagne*
- 10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) water
- 10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar), divided
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 pears (on the firm side, I used Green Anjou)
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Almond Whipped Cream**
- 4 ⅛ ounces (½ cup) heavy whipping cream
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar)
- ⅛ teaspoon pure almond extract
- sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)
Almond Champagne Poached Pears
- Combine the champagne, water, and 7 ounces (1 cup) sugar in a medium saucepan (you want to use one just large enough to contain the liquid and the pears so the pears will be fully submerged). Add the seeds from the vanilla bean and whisk to combine. Drop in the vanilla bean pod. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally as mixture warms up.
- Meanwhile, core pears from the bottom (a melon baller works well here) and peel skin. Transfer to the saucepan and reduce heat as needed to maintain a simmer. Place a smaller pot lid over pears to keep submerged in liquids. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, turning pears every few minutes to ensure they cook evenly, until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork or blunt knife. Use a slotted spoon to remove from saucepan and transfer to a lidded container.
- Strain the remaining liquids through a fine-mesh sieve and transfer back to the saucepan. Stir in the remaining 3 ½ ounces (½ cup) sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until liquid has reduced to about ⅓-1/4 of the original amount. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour over pears in container and refrigerate, or, if serving immediately, transfer pears to serving glasses/bowls and pour some syrup into each. Make whipped cream just before serving.
Almond Whipped Cream
- Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or other bowl if using a handheld electric mixer) and add vanilla bean seeds. Beat on medium-high speed until thickened. Reduce speed to low and add sugar and almond extract. Increase speed and continue to beat just until whipped cream can hold its shape.
- Dollop whipped cream into each serving glass/bowl and top with sliced almonds if desired. Serve immediately.
*If you can't find almond champagne you could easily use another champagne in this recipe.
**If you want to be extra-generous with the whipped cream, you could double the amount. :)
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.