(Serves Me and You)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 vanilla bean,
1-inch piece of ginger root
2 small Bartlett pears
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp natural coffee extract
as desired ginger cookies
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer; let the sugar dissolve completely. Slit open the vanilla bean and remove the seeds.
To the sugar mixture, add 1/4 of the bean pod and all of the seeds, along with the ginger root and clove. Let the sugar syrup infuse while preparing the pears.
Peel the two pears and, with a melon baller, remove the core, working from the bottom and carving into the centre of the pear. Place the pears in the gently simmering syrup. Place a piece of parchment paper or a saucepan lid (smaller than the pan you are using) over the top to keep the pears submerged.
The time needed to poach the pears depends on their ripeness. Test them after eight minutes by lifting one gently from the syrup and poking with a small knife. The pear is done when the knife meets no resistance. If not done, place back into the syrup and check again in three minutes. Remove pears to a bowl, pouring the syrup over top, straining out the clove, ginger and vanilla pod. Let cool to room temperature.
To make the coffee cream, stir together the whipping cream and coffee extract and whisk into soft peaks.
Crumble two ginger cookies. Place each pear on a plate and sprinkle with the crushed cookies. Place a dollop of coffee cream beside each pear and serve.