Chai Poached Pears with Ginger Cream Cheese


Autumn, Desserts, Gluten-Free / Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

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We have a few weeks left until the official start of autumn, but aren’t you getting the itch?

The itch for chai tea, pot roast, apple fritters and country ham. Crisps and chilis and creamy macaroni and cheese. Anything slow-cooked. And the shout-hallelujah return of Starbucks® Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Autumn, you’re giving me that new-boyfriend feeling.

Here in Nashville, it’s still too hot for heavy comfort foods, so this is my compromise: Chai Poached Pears Filled with Ginger Cream Cheese.

You place the ingredients in a small bowl and mix them with a fork or spoon. Then, spoon the filling into a bag for piping (a sandwich bag with one corner snipped off will work), or slice the pears in half and add a mound of filling. It’s the sort of crave-worthy stuff that would be good eaten straight out of the bowl or spread on a gingersnap, much less piped into a poached pear.

You could stop there and have a fantastic dessert.

But, just to push it to that level of Total Pear Nirvana, there’s a sauce. A warm sauce made of the chai poaching liquid, orange zest, cream and honey. Add a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg, and you have a light but comforting dessert that will help you get that fall fix, minus the lard and red-eye gravy.

Chai Poached Pears with Ginger Cream Cheese

Adapted from Esther Benaim and Maggie McKeown (Food Network Canada)

Yield: 4

  • 8 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons chai tea
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 pears, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup Neufchâtel cheese, mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Garnish: cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, add tea, and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you want the taste.
  2. Reduce heat to just under a boil, and add sugar.
  3. Once sugar has dissolved, add peeled and cored pears, and reduce heat to a simmer. Poach pears until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve poaching liquid, and cool to room temperature.
  4. While the pears and poaching liquid are cooling, place the cheese, vanilla and ginger in a medium bowl, and combine with a fork. Add 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid to mixture; mix well. Place mixture in a piping bag, and fill the holes in the pears. Set aside.
  5. In a heavy saucepan, bring 1 cup of poaching liquid and orange zest to a boil. In a separate pot, combine cream and honey, and heat until warm. Add cream mixture slowly to poaching liquid.
  6. Place 1 pear on a plate. Spoon sauce around the pear. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg.

23 thoughts on “Chai Poached Pears with Ginger Cream Cheese

  1. Love the shout-out to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. That drink is warm nectar of the gods — and my favorite and only fully enjoyed thing they sell.

  2. Holy moly. These look FANTASTIC. If there is one thing I will need to get me through the summer-fall transitions, it is pumpkin spice, chai tea, roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes….these pears will fit the bill perfectly. Thank you so much for the recipe!!!!!

  3. One…no TWO of my favorite things in the whole word, poached pears and Pumpkin Spice Latte. I'm in Tucson, AZ and definitely with you on craving cool weather comfort food…enough that we had a big pot of cowboy beans earlier in the week. Can't wait forever!

  4. Fall has come early to the upper midwest., and I couldn't be happier! (I did buy the last of my favorite orchard's peaches today at market, to can this weekend. I'll miss the summer come February!) But Pumpkin Spice Latte…the baristas at "my" Starbucks know I love it so much, they tell me when they've got it in, even before it's on the menu!

  5. Great post! Especially love the comment about Autumn giving you that new boyfriend feel… so true! Every flavor of fall – mmmm.

    My mom & I were just talking about wanting a great recipe for poached pears – I'm tagging yours to make soon!

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  7. […] pears. This recipe for Pandora’s chai-poached pears from Rebecca Crump on Ezra Pound Cake sounds terrific too, though I’m a bit sad to see autumn […]

  8. Oh this sounds so awesome. I am in the middle of making my meal plan/shopping list for next week, and it includes things like bangers and mash, applesauce, roasted brussel sprouts, and now these pears. I guess I am willing the fall weather too? : )

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