Thursday 21 May 2015

vanilla poached pears with mascarpone and sablé biscuits

                                                                                                  image thanks to the wonderful Luisa Brimble

"Simple, seasonal" a culinary mantra, last week I finally got it.

On Sunday Nia and Johan Neve from The Assembly Co hosted an autumn lunch, their first seasonal gathering, a wonderfully warm, relaxed afternoon. Anna the floury baker, pastry goddess, provided the savoury, I was delighted to bring the sweet. 

I'm not known for restraint when it comes to dessert. I made a few different things, but for me the vanilla poached pears were the star, honestly the nicest thing I've made in ages. Paired with crisp buttery sablé biscuits and whipped mascarpone, so simple but perfectly matched. Walnut brownies with hot salted caramel shared that table, stiff competition, lends weight to my claim.

I'm off to buy more pears first thing, if you're in the southern hemisphere maybe buy some too; it's pear season, poach away and enjoy. Simple, seasonal.

For more details of the magical day and Luisa Brimble's wonderful images click over to Nia's blog.

vanilla poached pears

400 g caster sugar
350ml bottle of dessert wine (I used a botrytis something or other, pretty bottle, $15, don't really do wine)
strip orange zest
juice of 1 orange
strip lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
approx 500ml water
6 beurre bosc pears

• pour the orange juice, lemon juice and wine into a jug, make up to 1 litre with tap water, then pour into a medium/large wide bottomed pan with the sugar, split vanilla bean and seeds, lemon and orange zest
• stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, remove from heat
• peel, halve and core the pears, pop them into the pan with the syrup as you go, this will prevent them browning (i used a parisian scoop to core my pears, a melon baller will do the job as long as your pears are not too firm)
• cover the pears with a circle of baking paper, carefully place a plate on top to weigh the pears down, over a medium heat bring the syrup to a simmer, turn down the heat, gently simmer until the pears are tender (poaching time will depend on the ripeness of your pears, mine took between 15 and 25 minutes)
• remove from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the poaching liquid
• store the cooled pears in their poaching liquid in an air tight container in the fridge
• allow the pears to come to room temperature to serve, while the pears acclimatise, put 400ml of the poaching liquid in a small pan, bring to the boil and reduce by half
• serve the pears with the syrup, whipped mascarpone and sablé biscuits

sablé biscuits

200g butter, at room temperature
100g icing sugar (not icing mixture)
1 large egg, yolk only
250g plain flour
pinch salt

 put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat for a minute or so to soften
 sift the icing sugar over the butter and beat together until fluffy and pale, add the egg yolk, beat to combine
 sift the salt and flour over the butter mixture, mix together on low speed until just combined, tip the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disc, cover with the plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 2 hours
 preheat your oven to 180ºC, line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper
 lightly flour the bench, unwrap the sablé dough, bash it a few times with a floured rolling pin to soften, then roll the dough to your desired thickness, mine were about 3mm thick, probably as thin as you'd want to go (if you plan to sandwich something, say salted caramel or nutella, between 2 cookies make them at least 5mm thick, but no more than 8mm)
 cut rounds using a plain 7cm cutter (again you can go larger or smaller, or fluted...) place on the baking sheet
 collect together any scraps, knead together, reroll and cut as many rounds as you can, summon your willpower and discard any remaining dough (I have been known to roll into small balls, freeze and add to ice-cream ...)
• bake for approximately 10 minutes, until they colour around the edge (if you have made smaller/thinner biscuits check them after 8 minutes, larger/thicker cookies will take slightly longer, just look for that golden colour around the edges)
 cool on the trays, when completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container
 makes around 20 biscuits

                                                                                                               image credit and thanks to Luisa Brimble

whipped mascarpone

250g mascarpone
80ml whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tbsp sugar

• tip the mascarpone into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, whisk for 30 secs or so to loosen
• add the cream, sugar and vanilla, whip together until it thickens slightly, and is billowy and cloud like
• use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

                                                                                                            image credit and thanks to Luisa Brimble


Iron Chef Shellie said...

gorgeous girlfriend <3 x

simmer and boyle said...

thanks Shellie ♡

Bec said...

What a lovely recipe! xxxxx

Olguta said...

Beautiful photography. Poached pears are my favorite dessert ever! Well done!

simmer and boyle said...

thanks Bec ♡

simmer and boyle said...

Olguta thank you so much! can only claim credit for half the images, the rest to the super talented Luisa Brimble.

Bonnie Friday said...

Hi Sally, I am desperately trying to track down the timber-based cake stand pictured in this blog post, do you have any idea where I might find one? It is simply beautiful!

Bonnie Friday


simmer and boyle said...

hi Bonnie, it is my favourite too, I bought it back from Anthropologie in the US. I know they've sold out :( If you are in Australia there are a couple of options...

Papaya home wear have the same stand, it comes with a cliche btw, it is really pricey.

the Lost and Found Department have a similar stand, see the link to Emma's post below. I gave them a call, they have 1 left!

good luck x

Bonnie Friday said...

Thank you sooo much Sally, that response was way beyond what I was hoping for - time to get shopping!

simmer and boyle said...

you are welcome! it comes with a cloche, not a cliche by the way ;) hope you find it x