I was intending to post this recipe earlier in the week, but, sometimes life happens, and you just go with it, and it’s okay if your post happens a lil’ later than intended! Joe & I spent the last couple days with a couple good friends, skiing/hiking 11 miles out to Tolovana Hot Springs (which is about 100 miles North of Fairbanks), and then skiing/hiking back to our car the next day. They were an amazing two days, but more on them later, when I have some pictures to share. 🙂
I guess this is my token “valentine’s day post”, although it’s a bit late in coming! (It’s also, I’m relatively proud to say, my first “sweet” post of the year.) Joe & I actually had our valentine’s dinner back on the 9th, when we realized that our schedule meant either a really early, or really late special dinner, if we wanted to make it happen. We did make it happen, but kept it relatively simple. I had bought some pork chops from a local small-scale farmer out in Kenny Lake when I was there in December, so we cooked them, along with some brussel sprouts and potatoes. Simple & delicious! I’ve been in love with potatoes recently. Oh, and as you can see in the picture below, the pork chops (something neither of us had eaten in a loooong time) were huge! They definitely lasted us for two meals.
So, on to dessert, and the poached pears. I’d seen pictures of poached pears in cookbooks, and always thought to myself how elegant & wonderful they looked (true), and how hard they must be to make (not true). Well, last week pears were on sale at the grocery store, so we bought a few, and then I started to think about things I could make with pears.
After looking at a few different recipes for a pear cake, pear crisp, or baked pears, I took a deep breath and decided I was ready to try making poached pears for the first time. I just couldn’t resist that gorgeous pictures any longer! I worked off of two different recipes, taking the elements I liked, and made my version refined sugar free, with a decadent vegan chocolate sauce.
These really were so easy to make. After Joe & I had dinner, I peeled the pears, set them to boil for about 25 minutes, made the chocolate sauce, and everything was ready! The entire appearance and taste of these treats blew my mind. Just as gorgeous as any picture (although as you can see in my pictures, I don’t have quite the best food-stylist chocolate drizzling skills yet!), and even more delicious than I could have imagined. Soft and rich with the dark chocolate, spices & wine, they were such a treat!
I used maple syrup for both poaching the pears and the chocolate sauce, but I’m sure that you could use honey instead. Recently, Joe & I have just really preferred maple syrup! This chocolate sauce makes a bit much for 2 pears, so you’ll have some extra, but I doubt you’ll have too much trouble finding a use for it. 🙂
2 ripe pears, peeled (I used Bosc)
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
3/4 c red wine
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
In a small pan, combine the wine, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla and spices. Add the pears and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, turning pears occasionally until soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer each pear to a plate. Simmer the remaining liquid until slightly thicker and syrupy; I didn’t let it go for too long because I was impatient, but you could! Spoon sauce over pears. Drizzle chocolate sauce over each pear and serve immediately!
Vegan Chocolate Sauce
makes about 1 cup
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3-4 Tbsp coconut milk, depending on how thin you want. I used 3 and it was pretty thick, 4 may be better for drizzling!
In a small pan, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Stir constantly over low heat until melted and warm. Remove from heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt, stirring until smooth and silky. Use while warm.
Leftovers keep great chilled, but you’ll want to warm it back up a bit before use.