Serious Eats: Recipes

The Crisper Whisperer: Quick-Poached Asian Pears

Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables.

[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

Although Asian pears (also called Chinese pears, apple pears or sand pears) are now fairly widely available, they were new to me a few years ago when they showed up in our CSA haul. People, this is one delightful fruit. (Well, okay, it's more like many, many varieties of delightful fruit that all share a name and a few key qualities.) I hardly know how I lived so long without them.

Asian pears have a lemony, floral flavor and a light, juicy crispness that puts them somewhere between pears and apples, but on a higher plane. They work so well on their own that they hardly require any adornment to make a special dessert. Still, a quick bath in a light brown sugar syrup perfumed with lemon, ginger and vanilla never hurt anyone, and very few foods are made worse by a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Are you with me here?

This elegant dessert takes mere minutes to prepare. It does most of the work itself while you eat dinner. If you can get your hands on a few Asian pears, I hope you'll give it a try.

Quick-Poached Asian Pears

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January, 2009.

About the author: Carolyn Cope writes Umami Girl and manages a CSA in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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