Pears have been off the menu for me for over two decades – at least when it comes to cooking them, that is. That’s all because of a dinner party disaster many years ago. Now, though, I appear to have conquered my demons.
A group of friends and I used to take turns to host dinner parties for each other. Each dinner had a theme that we would stick to rigidly.
When my turn came, I opted to host – you guessed it – a French evening. I planned my menu carefully and found wines to match each course. I even lined up enough CDs of French music to see us through to midnight.
I forget what I served for the starter and the main course. It is the dessert that has stuck with me all these years. Haunted me, you might say.
I had found a recipe for poached pears. There would be two each – one poached in white wine and one poached in red.
There were gasps of admiration when I brought the desserts to the table. My guests were impressed – until they tried to cut into a pear, that is. They were hard and refused to yield to a mere fork and spoon. I drew the line at offering steak knives, so I swiftly removed the plates from the table and returned with the cheese course.
“There were gasps of admiration. My guests were impressed – until they tried to cut into a pear, that is”
These days you can buy fully ripened, ready-to-eat pears at almost any supermarket. Back then, you couldn’t.
Last week I overcame my fear and cooked pears in chocolate (pictured). I am relieved to report that they were delicious.