Drizzle chocolate sauce over poached pears for a festive finish to your holiday meal

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • Zest strips from 1 washed lemon, preferably organic
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 4 just-ripe pears, such as D’Anjou, Barlett or Bosc
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (5 ounces) finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Step 1

Make the pears: In a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears, combine the apple cider, water, brown sugar, lemon zest, rosemary, if using, and peppercorns.

Step 2

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the pears, leaving them as smooth and neat as possible; try to leave the stem intact. Add the pears to the pot, and cover with a circle of wax or parchment paper to prevent discoloration as the pears cook. Use a lid or a heatproof plate that will fit just inside the diameter of the pot to hold the parchment down.

Step 3

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the pears are fairly tender but not super-soft, turning every 10 minutes or so, so that all parts of the pear have a chance to be submerged, for 25 to 30 minutes total. The pears are done when the tip of a sharp paring knife or a wooden skewer glides fairly easily into the outside of the pear and meets some resistance as it heads toward the middle. To test this, gently lift a pear out of the pot and insert the tester into the bottom — this will keep them unblemished on the sides.

Step 4

Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears cool — with the parchment still on but the lid or plate removed — in the poaching liquid until they reach room temperature. The pears will continue to cook in the hot poaching liquid. Either hold at room temperature for a few hours, or transfer the pears to a container and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Step 5

Make the chocolate sauce: When ready to serve, place the heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and warm on HIGH until hot but not boiling, about 15 seconds. Place the chocolate chips and salt in another small bowl and pour the hot cream over. Let sit, without stirring, for about 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and the salt is dissolved.

Step 6

Slice a sliver off the bottom of each pear so they stand up straight. Place each pear on a plate and drizzle each with chocolate sauce. Sprinkle the pears with the chopped crystallized ginger, add a dollop of whipped cream, if using, and serve.

Nutrition Information

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

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