Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Poached Pears with Champagne Sabayon

Sabayon is the French version of zabaglione.  I made a chocolate zabaglione for tiramisu, but I had not tried this before.  Since I now had two egg yolks left over from the brownies, I decided to do a small batch as a trial.

The main difference between the French and Italian sauces is the alcohol.  Zabaglione uses Marsala.  Period.  Sabayon uses any moderate to sweet white wine.  This recipe from Emeril uses champagne but adds just enough sugar to toss it to the sweet side.

Since I was opening a bottle of champagne for a mere 1/4 C, I decided to do the poached pears part of the recipe.  I've never poached fruit, and have only had it a few times.  I only bought two and cut down the use of wine accordingly, so there was still over half the bottle left.  There was quite a bit of sabayon leftover after going through the two pears (which is why this recipe calls for 4), so I cooked up an apple with this same method, using a cinnamon stick and several cloves as the seasoning.  You have to cook apples longer, and I didn't bother to peel them first, but the recipe works.

It sort of feels like wasting the champagne on cooking, but I'm sure many people have a bottle or two sitting around this time of year from New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day.  One commenter remarked that this would make an excellent Passover Seder dessert.  That is especially true because it uses whole vanilla bean; vanilla extract is not KLP.  I don't keep vanilla beans around, and substituted dried lavender.

For those paying attention, this recipe is similar to my first batch of whipped lemon curd, minus the butter.  And like the lemon curd, it took me way longer to achieve the proper consistency than the recipe said.  Either I'm bad at whisking, the water was not hot enough, or the recipe should just admit that it takes close to 15 minutes to make.

I'm posting this recipe in the reverse order of Emeril's.  The pears have to be chilled after poaching- before you make the sabayon, which should be served warm off the double boiler.  Not sure why he posted it the other way around.

4 ripe pears
1-1/2 C + 1/4 C champagne (or other sparkling wine)
1 split vanilla bean, or cinnamon stick, or 1/2 tsp dried lavender
2 egg yolks
2 Tb sugar

1.  Early in the day… Set a medium saucepan of water on the stove to boil.  Wash pears and cut an X mark on the blossom end.  Make a bowl of ice water.  Place pears in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until skin starts to peel at the X.  Remove to bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then rub off the skins.
2.  Rinse out saucepan and place 1-1/2 C champagne and the flavor ingredient of choice over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, which happens quickly with alcohol.  Lower to a simmer for 5 minutes, for the flavoring to infuse the poaching liquid.  While it's doing that, cut the pears in half.  With a melon baller, remove core, stem, and blossom end.
3.  Place pears in simmering champagne for 3 to 5 minutes, until fully cooked but not mushy.  Remove from liquid and store in the fridge until dessert time.

4.  Between dinner and dessert, heat a couple of inches of water in our medium saucepan to a simmer.  While it's warming, you can plate the pears.  I suggest small bowls or dishes with a rim, to contain the sauce.  If you're having another dessert or a scoop of ice cream on the side, half a pear is enough for a serving.  If this is it, use a whole pear per person.

5.  In a bowl that will fit over the saucepan without the base touching the water, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and 1/4 C champagne.  Use an actual whisk, or this is going to take forever.  Set the bowl over the water and continue to whisk until mixture is thick, foamy, and about doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.  When the sauce falls in thick ribbons, the egg is cooked and the sauce is ready to serve.

6.  Spoon sauce over pears, roughly 2 Tb per half a pear.  Garnish if desired, maybe with a couple of berries or a chocolate sauce on the rim of the plate.  I did a scattering of lavender buds to go with the flavoring.

Serves at least 4

Difficulty rating  :-0

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.