Sweet and Simple Comice Pear Desserts
Comice pears, created in the mid-1800s in France, are the sweetest and most aromatic of all the pear varieties. The official name of the Comice is ‘Doyenne du Comice’. Many people are familiar with Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc, but little is known of the Comice. Of the four, the Comice pear makes up only about 1% of the total pear production. It is definitely the gem in the pear family and the perfect choice for a special dessert.
One of the most popular ways to prepare pears for dessert is to poach them. Comice pears are very delicate and care must be taken when poaching. First, choose pears that are slightly under ripe as an over ripe Comice will turn to mush if poached. Next, put pears and poaching liquid in a pot. Place a plate on top of the pears to weigh them down in the liquid. Bring poaching liquid to a boil. The poaching liquid can be as simple as water and sugar or can include fruit juice or wine as well. Once the liquid comes to a boil, quickly reduce the heat to low and allow the pears to simmer approximately thirty minutes or until their consistency is that of a ripe plum. Then remove the pot from heat and allow the Comice pears to rest until they come to room temperature. Pears can then be covered and refrigerated overnight and will be ready to use in your favorite recipe.
If you are interested in using fresh Comice pears for dessert rather than cooked pears, try a Comice and cheese display served with your favorite port. Core and slice pears and arrange on a platter. Add an assortment of your favorite cheeses. Blue cheese, Gorgonzola, St. Andrea, Parmesan, Stilton, Chevre are all excellent choices. Be sure to include some toasted nuts like pecans or walnuts. Add a little honey and you have the ‘pear-fect’ ending to your meal.
Another simple dessert option that is perfect for fall or winter weather, is Comice pears glazed with maple syrup. First, whip heavy cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream until ready to serve dessert. Next, peel pears, cut into quarters and remove core. Then, cut quarters in half. Using a heavy skillet, melt butter and add pears Cook until pears start to brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Add maple syrup and cook approximately one minute. Turn pears and cook other side until tender, about one more minute. Remove from heat and allow the Comice to cool slightly. Transfer to bowls or plates, top with the whipped cream and serve.
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