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Category: Desserts

Poached Pears Filled With Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

Poached Pears Filled  With Chocolate  Hazelnut Ganache
Los Angeles Times

Every year chocolate is celebrated on Valentine's Day for its sensual romantic symbolism, its power as an aphrodisiac to awaken slumbering passions. Its bittersweet complexity is as sharp and rewarding as love itself. But if an edible substitute for love ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus 1 hour chilling | Makes 4 pears
Note: Reduced poaching liquid makes a sauce for the pears, which have a chocolate truffle-like center. You can poach the pears one or two days before you plan to serve them.

Ganache

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts on a jellyroll pan until they're fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Place them in a kitchen towel and rub them briskly to remove the skins. Finely grind the nuts with the sugar in a food processor.

Step 2Heat the cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, stirring until it's melted and smooth. Stir in the nuts. Refrigerate the ganache, stirring occasionally, until it's cool but not firm, about 45 minutes.

Step 3Before filling the pears, whisk the ganache gently to aerate it until it thickens slightly and very soft peaks form.

Pears

  • 4 ripe but firm pears such as Anjou or Cornice
  • 3 1/2 cups red wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Step 1Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Trim a thin slice off the bottom of each pear to give it a flat surface for standing upright on a plate. Using a paring knife or a melon baller, cut into the bottom of each pear and remove the core. Scoop out a small cavity in the center of each pear for the ganache filling.

Step 2Combine the wine, water, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and bring them to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and simmer gently until tender when pierced with a knife, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow the pears to cool in the poaching liquid, then refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Step 3Remove the pears from the liquid, reserving 2 cups for the sauce. Pat the pears dry with a paper towel and pipe or spoon the ganache into the center of the pears. Refrigerate the pears until the ganache is set, about 30 minutes.

Step 4Bring the 2 cups of reserved poaching liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. To serve, stand a pear upright on a dessert plate and spoon a little sauce over it.

Each pear:
571 calories; 10 mg sodium; 27 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 116 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 3.27 grams fiber.
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