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Chai Spice Poached Pears with Chai Sorbet

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4-inch piece of ginger, in thin slices
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 vanilla beans, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2-star anise
  • 3 whole allspice
  • 10 cloves
  • 20 cardamom pods, lightly smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 6 teaspoons loose black tea (6 tea bags)
  • 46 pears (my favorite is Bosc, followed by Anjou or Bartlett)

For the ganache:

  • 3/4 cup poaching liquid
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 1 cup of chocolate chips)

For the chai sorbet:

  • 1/4 c. reserved poaching liquid
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Uncooked egg, washed with soap and water

Instructions

  1. Combine all spices (except black tea) in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Turn off heat and add black tea. Let steep 15 additional minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the pears and remove the core with a melon baller starting from the bottom. Leave the stem intact.
  4. Strain spices out of the liquid and return liquid to pot. Add pears and return to a boil. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to one hour until the thickest part of the pear is tender when poked with a toothpick. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on a baking rack covered with parchment paper. Reserve the poaching liquid for the ganache and sorbet. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  5. Once ready to serve, make the ganache: combine 1/4 cup poaching liquid and bittersweet chocolate
  6. To make the chai sorbet: Pour the leftover poaching liquid in a fine mesh strainer and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight. Prepare simple syrup by heating sugar and water in a saucepan and allow to cool to room temperature. Using a well cleaned-uncooked egg, add simple syrup to the poaching liquid until a portion of the egg the size of a quarter emerges above the surface of the mixture. This is how you know your sorbet will be smooth and not freeze into a solid brick!
  7. To assemble: Rewarm the poached pears if needed. Drizzle with chai chocolate ganache and serve with a scoop of chai sorbet.

Tips: Less ripe pears work best as they take longer to soften and therefore have a stronger flavor.