Poached pears? One thing leads to another. In this case a pear comeback in the dr bob cooking team kitchen.
bob eats apples for lunch at work. Not a big apple enthusiast, they seem to be more user friendly than pears. And if you are eating fruit like medicine as an investment in present and future health, they get the job done. Pears always seem as hard as rocks in the supermarket, a bit deceptive since they usually give way when eaten raw, although sometimes they are too soft and then messy to eat. And the geometry is less adapted to peeling with that narrow top and concave inward shape. Excuses. But sometimes the threshhold for avoiding food items is pretty low. At least for bob.
Cooking partner ms_ani (okay, kitchen boss) has the memory of an elephant. If what they say about elephants is true. bob was choosing dessert at the end of a pleasant Valentine's Day Eve dinner at an upscale local mall restaurant (translate: easy parking, beat the crowd sure to appear the next day). Since she is not a dessert person, there was little incentive to choose something appealing to her, but bob tried anyway steering clear of the obvious chocolate laden dish heading instead for the poached pear with ice cream (fruit, isn't that supposed to be healthy?) Ani recalls a memorable dinner many decades earlier in Rome with Chantal and Gianfranco, Emanuela and Domenico, the one which led to our later attempt to recreate Chantal's simple but tasty pureed French onion soup (no globs of melted cheese topping). The ending was poached pear. Chantal's parents were Italians who moved to France where she grew up, so there was a French edge to the menu. A delightful combination of two renowned cuisines. The poached pears bob sort of remembered vaguely once prompted. Maybe.
The next day at our membership big box store Costco, bob decides to grab some Bosc pears to give them a chance. Shortly afterwards checking out the discounted food magazines (30 percent off) on the way to the checkout, one stands out with an apple dessert on the cover: tarte tartin. Which could easily be converted to the pear version. Inside reveals several other recipes with pears. Destiny strikes. bob grabs the magazine.
A few days later a weekend family dinner provides the excuse for the chocolate pear clafoutis. The "s" is probably silent, from what little bob remembers of French (after studying it for the physics language requirement 3 weeks before starting grad school, then arriving to find the requirement cancelled). And it has bittersweet chocolate: a win win. The pear prep, poaching and cooling takes a few hours, followed by the dessert assembly and baking. Not an inconsiderable investment of time and effort. But yes, it was worth it. If you are a real chocolate lover.
We had to make some modifications. No almond extract on hand so we used Frangelico hazelnut liqueur to which we are partial and would have probably swapped in anyway. No cardamon, probably Ani threw bob's old spice jar away or gave it to her mom from lack of attention for many years. And the last cinnamon stick was used up for the Armenian cinammon rice dish in preparation for the evening meal. Powder had to substitute. The original recipe called for Chablis or any dry white wine but Chablis has a mental association with cheap American wine in bob's not very informed wine knowledge base (perhaps unfairly so), so we went with a white we had multiple bottles of on hand because we liked it.
By coincidence Martha (there's only one in the cooking world) was doing a nectarine clafloutis on Saturday afternoon public TV as we finished off our experiment. Obviously one can do other fruit variations of this recipe. Martha followed it up by a plum upside down cake. We need to do more baking.