*Serve with your favorite Vanilla Ice Cream or Crème Fraîche. Feel free to use a dairy-free version.
- 4 Bosc pears (firm, not overly ripened)
For the poaching liquid:
- 5 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup brandy or cognac
- 1 cup orange blossom honey or maple syrup
- zest and juice from a whole lemon
- 2 large pieces orange peel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean split down the center
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup unsulfured dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 dashes nutmeg
For The Chocolate Dip
- 4 oz Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- *Alternatively you can just melt down already sweetened chocolate and add the coconut oil without the maple syrup.
- Begin with your pears. Turn your pears upside down, then using a small melon baller tool, remove the core and all seeds, then remove the outer skin with a peeler. If you don’t have a melon baller, a metal teaspoon measuring tool works just as well. Very important- you’ll need to save the first scoop that you take out of the bottom of the pear to use later as a “plug” to keep the filling from falling out. (See photo below). Don’t worry, this part of the pear is totally edible! Some people like to remove the stem, but for this recipe it’s best to leave it on so that you have something to hold onto when dipping into the melted chocolate later.
- After you have cored and peeled the pears, put them and the plugs into a large mixing bowl with very cold water (add a few ice cubes) and 3-4 lemon slices. This will prevent them from oxidizing before you poach them.
- Combine all ingredients for the poaching liquid into a large sauce pan and place over medium high heat.
- Place the pears (but not the “plugs”) into the poaching liquid and bring to a light boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cut a piece of parchment paper to match the diameter of the sauce pan and use that to cover the pears as they simmer. If you don’t have parchment paper you can also use a small dinner plate. Turn off the heat and leave pears in the pan until poaching liquid has completely cooled.
- Transfer the pears, along with the plugs into a storage container with poaching liquid and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- While your poached pears are refrigerating, make your filling. Toast the hazelnuts in a cast iron or stainless steel pan on medium high heat, tossing them frequently to avoid burning. Transfer them to a plate or piece of parchment paper to let them cool. Roughly chop them along with your dried apricots. Combine the chopped hazelnuts and apricots with all of the other filling ingredients into a small mixing bowl. *Helpful Tip: place the filling mixture into the freezer for 15 minutes before you stuff the pears. This will solidify the mixture, making it easier to work with.
- After the pears have been in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours, remove them from the poaching liquid and allow them to drain upright on a plate. Turn pears upside down and using your fingers, add the filling, being careful to leave enough room for the pear “plug” to seal the bottom. Carefully place the pears right side up on plate. Set them aside for a moment while you prepare the chocolate.
- In a small microwaveable mixing bowl, melt chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring at each interval until fully melted and smooth. Stir in the coconut oil one tablespoon at a time. Finally, add the maple syrup and stir until smooth.
- Pat your pears dry with paper towels. Then holding them by the stem, carefully dip them halfway into the liquid chocolate. Place the pears onto a plate with parchment paper to cool. Once all the pears have been dipped into the melted chocolate, put the plate into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from freezer when chocolate has hardened. Serve pears with crème fraîche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate. Enjoy!
- Note: the leftover poaching liquid can be saved for a variety of incredibly delicious uses. I recommend reducing it down further by bringing it to a low boil and simmering for an additional 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat, allow to cool completely and then strain the liquid into a storage container. The resulting syrup can be used in cocktails, poured over vanilla ice cream or fresh fruit.
Keywords: pears, poached pears, gluten-free, grain-free, brandy, dairy-free, chocolate, fruit dessert, cognac, apricot, orange