Archive for January, 2018

Happy New Year!

2018 has begun.

We had to bring the dessert for the dinner party we were going to, and perhaps because I have a slightly more fancy/poncey style of cooking than Tommy he was happy to let me handle it. (Also, he was working during the day so really didn’t have time to cook.)

So I was throwing ideas about in my head, but the main concept was that a dessert for New Year’ Eve needs to look a bit glamourous! I fixed on poached pears pretty early on, and for a while I thought I’d do a classic poire belle Hélène since it would be easy to travel with the component parts and then plate them up just before serving – but it seemed too “safe”…

Because it was for New Year’s I poached the pears with cava (a Spanish dy sparkling wine), sugar and vanilla pods, and while they were slowly cooking I baked some small disks of flakey almond pastry, just to add some texture to the dish.

When the pears were done I reduced the poaching liquid to a thick syrup, reducing it to one tenth of the original volume.

I placed a pastry disk on each plate, drizzled it generously with the pear, cava and vanilla syrup, and then I softened some gorgonzola cheese in a bit of cream and mixed it with whipped cream to make a mild blue-cheese flavoured cream to be piped on each disk before setting the pears on top. In hindsight I should have probably made it as a crème patissière so it would have been firmer and the pastry disk would still have been visible under the cream – but since I wasn’t working to a recipe and had never tested out my ideas I just had to wing it!

I then poured a sauce of white chocolate and cream over each pear before giving them a light dusting of edible “gold” dust. (NOT actual gold flakes – though that would have looked more elegant it would also have been beyond my budget!)

I was rather pleased with the over-all look… The dessert looked festive and suitable for New Year’s Eve, when everything needs to be a bit blinged out! I could have gone a bit more “all in” on the blue cheese – but I was afraid that blue cheese in a sweet dessert might be a bit challenging for some, and since I didn’t really know any of the other guests I played it a bit safe.

People seemed to enjoy it, though, both the look and the taste.

As the “New Boyfriend” being brought to a large party I wanted to make my boyfriend proud. And I know nobody would have thought less of me if I had brought a large bowl of trifle or whatever, but I wanted to pull out all the stop for this one.

It could have been better if I had done a trial run, of course. Since there was no recipe beyond what I imagined might taste nice, the balance was a bit off and I’d definitely do it differently another time – but it was good enough for the purpose and looked the part of a New Year’s Eve dessert!

(I won’t give a detailed recipe for two reasons: I improvised the whole lot, and I’d do it differently if I had another go… But do try to make things with pears and gorgonzola! It’s SUCH a classic combination!!!)

Read Full Post »