This is a simplified version of Chef Pierrick Simon’s elaborate pear dessert recently on the dessert menu at the Swissotel Metropole in Geneva.

Makes 4 servings


Poached Pears

Ice water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 ripe Bartlett pears

1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate “pearls” for finishing

  1. To poach the pears, half fill a 4 quart pan with a lid with ice water and add the lemon juice. One at a time, peel, halve and use a melon ball scoop to core and stem the pears, adding the halves to the acidulated ice water as they are prepared. Use a slotted spoon to skim out the ice and pour away all the water except what’s needed to cover the pears by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add the sugar, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and stir gently. Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper the same diameter as the inside of the pan and cut 6 to 8 1-inch (2.5-cm) holes in it. Cover the pears in the pan with the paper, pressing the paper down so that it is fully submerged. (This will keep the pear halves from floating up out of the liquid while they are cooking.) Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a full, rolling boil. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and allow the pears to sit in the hot liquid until they have cooled completely. If the pears are perfectly ripe, they won’t need any more cooking; if they are less ripe, boil them for 2 minutes before proceeding. Once the pear halves are cool, use a slotted spoon to lift them gently to a plastic container and pour in enough of the poaching syrup to cover the pears and transfer the vanilla bean to the container. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Leftover syrup may be frozen for the next batch of pears.  Chill the pears.
  2. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla.
  3. Drain the pears and reassemble 2 halves in a dessert glass.  Pipe or spoon the whipped cream around the pear and sprinkle with the chocolate pearls.