Pears are a delicious fruit that seems to be notorious for being difficult to capture it’s flavor. I posted an article about our delicious Autumn breakfast, Quinoa Oatmeal with Persimmons and Pears, in which I mentioned I cooked my grains in a pressure cooker with fresh pears and spices. I was a bit disappointed that the pear flavor did not come through. So it was back to the drawing board.
I remembered a while ago I made a pear sauce for a duck dish I was doing and that the pear flavor was amazing. So I went in search of the recipe in Alinea’s cookbook. It was their recipe for roasted pairs. The technique couldn’t be more straightforward and the results are amazing.
I took my pears and put them into a roasting pan, fairly close together but not touching. I then started to cover them in salt. This is going to use A LOT of salt but don’t worry since you’re not adding anything to the salt you can reuse it. I have a tub I keep in my pantry that is just for roasting.
The point to covering them in salt it to keep the pears from getting direct heat and or breaking down because of hot spots. Not only this but it’s also going to trap the moisture from the pear inside the pear essentially cooking in it’s own juices. This is why it comes out with so much flavor. My pan was bigger than I needed so I added some “Ball” jars to the pan with a little bit of water in them to help fill up some of the empty space so I didn’t have to use even more salt. I then covered my pears well with salt. I roasted them in the oven for an hour. I let the cool enough to handle and stared unearthing them from the salt. (I kinda looked like I was on an archeology dig because I was using a pastry brush to dust away the salt so I could find the pears and carefully excavate them.
I then removed the blossom end, split the pear, and removed the stem by just lightly pulling on it. If the pair is very soft it will take the whole fiber down to the core with it. Then with a melon baller I removed the core. I then quartered each half and popped them into the blender skin on.
Let me take a minute to say the success of this step will greatly depend on the blender you have. I have gone through a lot of blenders and have had a lot of blender disasters but I finally have a blender that is a power house. It’s the Breville Boss. This thing can do a lot but best of all it makes the smoothest purées!
I only put three pears in the blender at a time and only added about 20 grams of sugar to them. I then puréed them for 1 minute and then ended up with this caramel-y brown color pear sauce that was super flavorful. We then cooked our grains in Breville’s Fast, Slow, Pro pressure cooker. After the gains cooked I added the seasonings to it. The moisture and heat from the grains allowed the spices to blossom. Then I folded in the pear purée. Now I have a Quinoa Steel-cut Oatmeal that has a nice chai flavored spice mix with a sweet pear flavor in the background.
The moral to all of this is if the first idea doesn’t work think about what didn’t work. The pear flavor didn’t come through. Then think about can anything be done. How about making an intense pear sauce to fold in after the grains cook. It may take more trail and error but after a while you’ll find you’ll start to come up with great ideas! It’s all about being fearless and creative!
In the end it made 9 days worth of breakfasts. We got them containered into each day and will freeze them. Then it’s a matter of thawing them each day and adding all the yummy toppings!