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Sake and Saffron Poached Pears With Vanilla Custard

The pears can be poached up to one week in advance. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serves 4

Poached Pears

1 (750 ml) bottle sake

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 tablespoon crushed saffron

4 pears, peeled and scored or halved and cored

  • Combine the sake, sugar, water, vanilla, and saffron, and bring to a boil.

  • Add the pears, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Allow the pears to cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

  • Turn off the heat, and leave the pears in the liquid until ready to use.

Vanilla Custard

1½ cups whole milk

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

4 egg yolks

  • Combine the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it steep for 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together; whisk in the eggs.

  • Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Pour all the mixture back into the saucepan.

  • Return the mixture to the stove, and boil over medium heat, constantly whisking until the mixture is thick.

  • Remove from the heat, transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill immediately.

To serve: Divide custard among 4 plates or bowls and top with 1 whole pear or 2 pear halves.


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