This post was sponsored in part by Raw Spice Bar, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own
Happy December! I hope this post finds you well on your way to enjoying the beauty of the season with family, friends and colleagues. December tends to mark the start of the holiday season for most of us, however, I'll admit to having played a few carols over the last two weeks. I've always enjoyed this time of year; maybe it's the Scandinavian heritage in me.
You've likely seen recipes for poached pears in liquor (red wine, white wine, brandy etc.); they're a popular dessert for fall and winter. Happily, you can also poach pears in tea and spices (it's less expensive and suitable for those of us that prefer to save the vino for sipping only). Chai tea is particularly popular and I happen to love poaching pears in these warming traditional spices.
There is something so good about poached pears; they're elegant, light, and although they look complicated, they are one of the more uncomplicated desserts out there. The holidays are full of the hustle and bustle of cooking, baking, entertaining and travel, so it is with pleasure that I share with you this simple dessert that comes together with ease and makes your home smell like the holidays. The majority of this dessert is hands-off cooking time, so you can wrap gifts, or take a moment to relax and soak in the simple joys of the holiday season.
When I was asked by Raw Spice Bar to work with them on a recipe this month, visions of flavourful possibilities danced in my head. Their spice blends are fresh, fragrant, professionally crafted and offer a unique perspective on traditional flavour profiles. Opening a sachet of their spice is like experiencing fresh and alive flavour aroma; my kitchen was a spice aromatherapy spa for several days as I perfected recipes with these wonderful blends. The trouble was deliberating long and hard on which one to present here.
Todayâ€™s recipe, in partnership with Raw Spice Bar, takes the traditional Chai tea poaching up a notch with the gentle glow of peppercorns, a subtle bouquet of rose, and zesty orange. I chose to serve this fragrant dessert with fresh vanilla cashew cream as a wonderful sweet compliment to the spice of these pears.
My heart swooned at the scent of their aromatic Peppercorn Chai Spice blend; I knew it would be the perfect flavour for poaching pears. Their unique Chai blend features dried rose petals and star anise among the traditional Chai spices of green cardamom, toasted black peppercorns, fennel, cloves and ginger. Heavenly!
Raw Spice Barâ€™s concept and mission are excellent: to send you fresh, unique and globally inspired spice blends in smaller batches each month for very minimal cost. Itâ€™s a great concept because how often do you use cloves, or cardamom, rose petals for that matter? Likely not often enough to warrant buying them in large amounts. All spices lose their potency and flavour over time, thus making smaller batches of freshly ground spice a great alternative. Raw Spice Barâ€™s blends are crafted with high quality, whole spices and are unbelievably fresh; they're ground just a few days before shipping!
A big thank you to Raw Spice Bar for this week's holiday recipe inspiration; I am thoroughly impressed with their product and look forward to trying more of their unique blends. You can read more about Raw Spice Bar, their mission and spice blend packages by visiting their website here. You can also sign up for monthly spice boxes and recipes like this one by visiting the link here.
As a thank you to my readers, you can use the code FLAVOR6 at the checkout to receive a $5 discount on any of their 6 or 12 month spice subscriptions. This would be a wonderful and unique gift for the seasoned or budding cook in your family. Thank you so much for supporting brands that help make Enlightened Decadence possible!
I hope you enjoy this recipe a much as I do. These poached pears are just so good and perfect for bringing a lighter note to holiday sweet feasting.
PEPPERCORN CHAI POACHED PEARS w/ VANILLA CASHEW CREAM
For the Pears
- 2 bag of Earl Grey or Lady Grey Tea
- 2 Cups Boiling Water
- 3 ripe but firm Pears (Bosc or Bartlett)
- ½ Cup Agave Nectar Maple Syrup or Organic Cane Sugar
- 1 3 oz Sachet of Raw Spice Bar Peppercorn Chai Spice blend a blend of Toasted Black Peppercorns, Rose Petals, Ginger, Cinnamon, Green Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Star Anise spices
- 1 Orange Peel
For the Cashew Cream
- 1 Cup Raw Unsalted Cashews
- ½ - ¾ Cup Water depending on desired thickness
- ¼ tsp Vanilla seed or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 TBSP Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
Make the Cashew Cream:
In a medium bowl, add the cashews and cover with filtered water. Let soak for 2 hours. Drain and place the soaked cashews, ½- ¾ cups of fresh water, vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Store in a glass container with a fitted lid until ready to use. Makes approximately 16oz of Cashew cream.
Poaching the Pears:
In a 3 quart saucepan, boil approx. 2 cup of water. Place the tea bags in the water and steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the pears, starting from the bottom up, making sure to keep the stem intact. Remove the tea bags, making sure to press out the tea water. Stir in sweetener, Raw Spice Bar Peppercorn Chai spice blend, and orange peel. Place the peeled pears in the spiced tea/spice mixture and add more water until the pears are just slightly covered with liquid.
Bring the pears to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until a knife pierces the pears with ease. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced and it lightly coats the back of a spoon (about 25 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve making sure to reserve the liquid.
To serve, place several spoonfuls of vanilla Cashew cream on a small serving plate. Add poached pear and pour a small amount of the poaching syrup over top. Best served warm.
If your pears are not quite ripe, you can simply increase the poaching time until they are softened. You can gently press the tip of a knife into a few sections of the pears to enable them to soak in more of the poaching juices while simmering. As pears are naturally sweet, you can use less or no sweetener, if you prefer, and add a small amount more to the cashew cream, to balance it out. Poached pears are delicious the next day as well; poach a few extras for your morning oatmeal!