Pears poached in rose water and elderflower vinegar

I am not really a dessert kind of person (I will contradict this statement throughout the course of this blog – many times) seeing that I will choose fat and salt over sugar any day. Another reason is my fear of unexpected things; despite my background in chemistry and biological processes I do not enjoy making a fancy dessert just to find out, just as I am about to serve, that somewhere along the process I made a crucial mistake by whisking X amount of minutes instead of Y amount which leads to the complete deflation of said dessert. 
That being said, I am not immune to the lure of a delicious dish of sugary comfort. SO what I will most likely do is make desserts that are more like cooking and that lets me check in along the way. As with these poached pears.

Poached pears are such an easy dessert and it will garner awe that far exceeds the time and effort spend. I wanted these poached pears to chime in with the increase in temperature and feel of spring approaching, so the poaching liquid is made from flowery and perfumery rosewater and also an elderflower vinegar for acidity. Ginger is added for a kick and a fat fat fat vanilla pod (I used Madagascar bourbon) to bring it all together.

I finish it all off with a spoonful of whipped cream and Greek yoghurt, and then pour over the reduced poaching liquid.

Although this recipe is 2 servings you can easily double the recipe by doubling the amount of pears, but only increase the poaching liquid by 25-50% as this recipe makes a lot in itself – and the pears need not be fully emerged in the liquid.

makes 2 servings

1 (½ inch) piece of ginger
1 vanilla pod, divided (see directions)
1/4 cup elderflower vinegar
1 tablespoon rose water
½ cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 big, ripe but firm, pears
A little lemon juice
2 tablespoons whipped cream
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt


  • Peel and chop the ginger in small cubes.
  • Halve the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out seeds, reserving half the seeds for the whipped cream/yoghurt topping. DO NOT discard the pod.
  • Combine ginger, vanilla seeds + pod, elderflower vinegar, rose water, water and sugar in a small saucepan – bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 9-10 minutes until the simmering bubbles are a bit thicker than they were in the beginning, but still being fairly watery.
  • Meanwhile, peel the pears, quarter them and remove seeds and stalk. Squeeze a little lemon juice over them to prevent them from browning.
  • When the poaching liquid has been simmering for 9-10 minutes, add in the pears and let simmer for 15 minutes. You can turn over the pears after 7 minutes, but I didn’t find it necessary.
  • Make the topping while the pears simmer: mix whipping cream and yoghurt together with the reserved vanilla seeds.
  • Check that the pears are done – they should be soft and easy to break with a spoon, but not mushy. Divide the pears on two plates to cool off. Put the saucepan back over high heat to reduce the poaching liquid: 5-10 minutes, depending on the desired consistency. I did 5 minutes, which made it pretty runny still. Strain.
  • To the plated pears add a big dollop of cream/yoghurt, then spoon over the strained poaching liquid and serve. 

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