Today might have been the warmest day whole summer in Istanbul and I am not much of a summer person. When the weather is so hot and humid like today, I feel so hard to find the strength to stay productive. But today I meant to change this by making something sweet treating my sweet-tooth. Like they say;
Food is the mood and good food might change your mood!
I have always appreciated a good dessert but I especially have a soft spot for fruity desserts. You will probably see so many fruity baked pies, cakes, and cookies here by the end of the year but I am planning to get to that when the weather gets a bit colder. But in the meantime, I wouldn’t want to deny myself from the aromatic summer fruits. So considering all these, I have decided on a dessert that is perfect for heated summer days: “Poached pears served with “Kaymak” cream”
Poaching fruits, especially pears, is a common cooking technique in French cuisine. If you work in a French restaurant or took a few classes on French cuisine, chances are you already poached a few different fruits. The traditional French method usually involves cooking the fruit in a milder syrup and then coating it with a more assertive glaze. If they want to go fancy, they poach the fruits in red, rose, or sherry wine. As you could imagine, using wine gives an amazing flavor& appearance to the fruit. With a few improvements I made; I turn this classic dessert into a light, fresh dessert that leaves no guilt behind even after the second plate.
Main Elements of the Dish
Whenever poaching fruit or vegetable, you want to use firm and crisp ingredients. This way the center of the fruit will be soft and the skin will still hold its shape. If you are using fruits with thick skin(like pears), you should peel the skin to cook evenly. You can substitute the pears with apples, peaches, apricots, or quinces in this recipe.
I used a rich, flavorful yet light syrup for poaching the fruits. I used star anise, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, high mallow, and goji berries to flavor. Last but not least, the star ingredient of this recipe, hibiscus, meant to be added only for color but it ended up tasting amazing. You can also use the remaining syrup to make a glaze (recipe below) to enhance the flavor of all the spices.
“Kaymak” is a type of cream that is served with heavy, syrupy desserts to milden the over sweetness. It is very simple to make kaymak, you simply boil full-fat milk for 15 minutes in a large pan, cover it with a lid and let it rest overnight. The next morning, there will be a layer of fat formed on the top of the milk. After its scraped from the milk, you have a very milky, fatty thick cream that is called Kaymak. The trick is to use high-fat content milk to get the best of the texture. Typically they use cows milk for these types of creams, but the gourmet versions are available in buffalo. If you don’t want to tackle making the cream from scratch, you could use clotted cream or whipped double cream to have a similar taste.
- 4 small pears
- 1-liter water
- 1 cup/200-grams sugar
- 3 pieces of star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 50-gram dry hibiscus
- Zest of 1 orange
- 100 gram Kaymak ( RT )
- 50 gram fresh cream
- In a large pan, bring all the ingredients needed for the syrup and start cooking on medium-high. Once you see the syrup bubbling, bring it to simmer.
- In the meantime, peel the skin of the pears. Cut them in half vertically and remove the cores. Place them on a bowl full of water and squeeze half a lemon juice. This will prevent the pears to get darker in color.
- Once the syrup is ready, place and lower the pears into the syrup. With the lid on, cook them for about 20-30 mins on simmer. Rotate the pears every 5 minutes to make sure they poach evenly on all sides. You can also use a small knife to check if the center of the pears is cooked.
- Take the pears off the pan and let them cool in the fridge.
- Fully strain the syrup and boil the remaining liquid until it reduces in half. After it reduces in half, bring the heat to simmer and let the glaze thicken. Once you have a good glassy texture, you can take it off the heat.
- Slowly start whipping Kaymak and fresh cream together for 3-4 minutes until you reach a smooth, fluffy texture. Let the cream cool down in the fridge.
- Serve the poached pears with cream and glaze on top.