Autumn Cocktail: La Poire

2 10 2010

La Poire: A pear based cocktail with subtle notes of rosemary and pepper.

I love to incorporate seasonal fruit into cocktails. It’s a fun and easy way to enjoy the flavours of the season (check out the Drink Archives for other ideas including Peach Sangria and Strawberry Mojitos).  With a little creativity, autumn drinks can involve more than just apple cider (although I do love a good cider as well!). For those who don’t speak much French, ‘la poire’ means ‘pear’.

This recipe calls for pear-flavoured vodka.  Both Grey Goose and Absolut make pear vodkas, however, if you’d rather make your own version, you can try this recipe from eHow.com: How to Make Pear Infused Vodka.  The rosemary-black pepper syrup sounds a bit odd but it’s subtle and adds an interesting note to the drink.

La Poire

Makes 2 drinks

  • 4 oz. pear flavoured vodka
  • 2 oz. Rosemary-Black Pepper Simple Syrup (see below)
  • 4 oz. pear juice (Ceres brand pear juice is readily available at many supermarkets)
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 pear slices, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, for garnish (optional)
  • Black pepper, for garnish (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Rosemary-Black Pepper Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary, about 4″ long
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

To make the syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, rosemary and black pepper.  Heat the mixture on medium-high and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.  Remove the rosemary sprig once cool and use the syrup as desired.  Extra syrup will keep in the fridge for a few days.

To make the cocktail:

  1. In a martini shaker, add a few ice cubes, vodka, simple syrup, pear juice and lemon juice.  Shake well and strain the drinks into martini or low-ball glasses.
  2. Garnish drinks with a pear slice, a rosemary sprig and a light sprinkling of fresh pepper if desired.

Enjoy!

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Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

16 10 2009

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This is one of my favourite fall desserts.  It’s decadent and rich so it’s ideal for cold evenings when we’re craving something comforting.  Pears are in season right now so it’s the perfect time to give it a try.  It works best with bread that is a couple of days old so it’s a great way to use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste.

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com where it was granted an Editor’s Choice award.  

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

  • 4 cups (about 5 thick slices) stale bread such as ciabatta, challah, etc. with crusts cut off and cut into 1- 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 large pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup halved pecans
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Caramel Sauce – see recipe below

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a standard sized loaf pan. Layer half of the bread cubes on the bottom of the loaf pan and sprinkle with half the pears and half the pecans.
  3. Layer the rest of the bread cubes over the pears and pecans. Sprinkle with the remaining pear pieces and pecans. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, vanilla, brown sugar and eggs. Pour custard mixture over the bread/pear/pecan layers. Press the top of the pudding down so that everything gets well soaked. Set aside to let custard soak in for about 15 minutes before baking. (Note: the pudding can be assembled a few hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to bake).
  5. Bake pudding for 30 to 45 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown on top and custard is cooked through. Serve with caramel sauce (see below) and vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Caramel Sauce

This is a versatile sauce that is also great with cake or ice cream.  Use caution when working with the hot sugar mixture.

Makes about 1 cup of sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a small saucepan heat cream on medium heat.
  2. While cream is heating, in a separate large saucepan, heat sugar and water on medium-high heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Watch the mixture for about 10 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown but do not whisk. Gently swirl the pan occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat once it turns a medium brown colour. Quickly add butter and heated cream, whisking as you pour it in. Be careful – the mixture is very hot and will bubble up a bit as the cream is added.
  5. Add salt and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over bread pudding or your favourite dessert (it’s great on vanilla ice cream!)

Bon Appéit and Enjoy!

 

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Pear and Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce