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).