Poached Pear in Red Fruit Purée
Painted tuiles arch over fanned pear slices which have a bright margin of red along each side from the strawberry poaching liquid. Bright orange passion fruit sorbet centers the presentation. The recipe will make extra tuiles, but because they are fragile, extras will come in handy when you begin to press them into the sorbet!
- Sweet Pears - 4
- Strawberry Purée - 1 quart (see Cooking Basics)
- Boiling Water - 2 cups
- Vanilla Beans - 2, split
- Cinnamon Sticks - 4 small
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (1/2 stick), softened
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Egg Whites - 2
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Cake flour - 1/3 cup, sifted
- Yellow and red food coloring
- Poppy Seeds - 1 tablespoon
- Special equipment: 12-inch length, 3-inch PVC pipe
- Passion Fruit Sorbet - 4 small, scoops
To prepare the pears: Combine the strawberry purée, water, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the mixture with the point of a small knife, then drop in the vanilla bean pods. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the pears. Press a circle of parchment paper cut slightly larger than the diameter of the pan down over the fruit. Poach for 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
To make the tuiles: Make a leaf template by cutting a 6-inch long iris leaf shape, pointed at one end and blunt at the other with outwardly curved sides, in a piece of 1/16-inch-thick or less plastic or cardboard. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or greased parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites at low speed until blended. Blend in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour, beating until smooth.
Place the stencil on the prepared sheet and spread batter in the stencil, smoothing it level with the stencil. Lift away the stencil. Repeat, using all the batter; this will give you extra tuiles. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes, until just firmed. Take out of the oven and place the baking sheet on a heatproof surface. Using a brush, dot and dribble food coloring on the tuiles to create a feathery design. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Return to the oven and bake another 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges begin to brown slightly. Remove from oven. Gently lift a tuile with a spatula and lay over the PVC pipe, design-side up, letting the tuile curve. Repeat with remaining tuiles. Let cool. If the cookies become too cool and stiff to curve over the pipe while you are working, return them to the oven for a few moments to rewarm them.
To serve: Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, reserving the liquid. Slice each pear in half, then core. Turn each half core-side down and slice into very thin lengthwise slices. Fan around four dessert plates. Place a scoop of sorbet in the center. Fasten the blunt ends of two tuiles in each ice cream scoop, letting the points curve over to the sides of the plates. Stand four bits of vanilla bean in the center of the sorbet on each plate. Drizzle poaching liquid around the plates and over the pear slices.