Poached Northwest Pears with Chocolate Sauce
Bosc or D’Anjou pears are best in this recipe; they’re firm when ripe and hold their shape. Look for pears grown by local growers and kept carefully in cold storage for a sweet reminder of the local harvest. Choose a dark Madagascar 65 percent chocolate bar from Seattle chocolatier Theo Chocolates and organic hazelnuts from a grower in Aurora, Ore., to complement the creamy poached pears. This is a dessert to remember.
In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Peel whole pears, leaving the stems if possible, and cut a thin slice off the bottoms so they will stand up when served. With an apple corer or melon baller, scoop out the seeds through the bottom to about halfway up.
Lower pears into the boiling syrup; they should be covered in liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently 10 to 20 minutes (depending on ripeness) until pears are almost tender. Slip a sharp knife into the pears — you should feel a slight resistance. Remove from heat and let cool in liquid.
Drain pears and pat dry on paper towels; arrange pears on individual plates. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and sprinkle with hazelnuts.
Source: Sound Consumer February 2007