I was at a café opening in Bangalore recently and standing like a little rebel in an otherwise traditional Indian spread was the Saffron-poached pear with a nice side of cream. It’s pear season here so, the choice of fruit was perfect, and the dish sat well on a cafe’s menu.
A clean plate later, I was happy to declare my meal as a sublime treat. The dish was pleasing to the eye and so exciting – it tasted sweet but not too sweet, soft but with a slight bite to it, sticky but oh-so smooth. My senses were treated to all sorts of lovely textures and flavors one finds in a few rare meals and I couldn’t wait to try this at home. I spent last weekend sniffing for great pears, cream, and an ideal pear flavoring.
While I set out to recreate the same dish, I didn’t have saffron handy but I did have my favorite black tea – the Teabox Mountain Rose. It’s beautifully flavored with jasmine, rose and cardamom, and I figured these would be great flavors to poach (cook) the fruit with. The tea stood to lend an edgy layer to the sweetness of the fruit, while all the floral niceties could heighten the aroma of it all.
It is said that you can ‘poach’ any fruit in just about any liquid. During the process of poaching the fruit takes on the flavor of the liquid offering a juicier, more flavorful bite.
I poached my pears, locally grown ones, in Teabox Mountain Rose – a flavored Nilgiri black tea. The tea is quite aromatic and rich in dark, floral attributes. I added honey to the tea to sweeten it because the pear itself was al-dente. I served the poached pear with a locally-made mascarpone cream and a sprinkling of fruit-n-nut muesli (just because I liked the sound of putting together muesli, cream, and fruit).
- 2 pear (ripe ones cook faster)
- 4 Teabox Mountain Rose TeaPacs®
- Honey or Sugar (as per your liking/preference)
- 4 Cardamom pods and some dry rose petals (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Mascarpone cream
- A fistful of muesli (of your choice)
- 500 ml water
- Toss the teabags in a milk pan and pour in 500ml of hot water. Allow the tea to steep for about 5-7 minutes. Just avoid making the liquor bitter.
- Once the tea is ready, discard leaves. Retain the tea in the milk pan and toss in some honey, cardamom pods and rose petals to enhance the flavors of the tea.
- Peel the pear and ensure you retain the stalk. Prick them with a fork before dropping the pears in the milk pan. Cover with a lid and poach them at medium to high heat for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Once the pear turns soft, allow them to cool at room temperature. Reduce the remaining tea liquor for a couple more minutes and keep aside.
- To plate, scoop a heap of mascarpone cream onto two plates. Place a poached pear on each and sprinkle some muesli around. Drizzle some of the reduction and honey (if desired) onto the pear, if desired. Serve with a freshly steeped cup of Mountain Rose tea.
- Pro tip: You can replace the mascarpone cream with full cream, yogurt, or ricotta, whichever one you fancy.