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Campari poached pears

Posted in Food & Entertaining

I can’t quite remember when my fascination with Campari started and what particular drink brought it on. Maybe it was a visual attraction at first, the combination of the ruby colored liquid and its vaguely modernist label. What I know for certain is that I was way into adulthood when I started drinking it, light drinker that I have always been, but I have never looked back. Some might find it a bit too bitter but I always felt its bitterness is ever so slightly balanced by a sweet finish that my palate thinks perfect.

Campari is a quintessential Italian drink – not just because it is made in Italy. It has become one of those iconic products, like a Bialetti mocha, the Cinquecento or the Vespa. It also lends itself to food preparation, a side business that hasn’t been quite mined yet. A few years ago we published a recipe for a Campari and orange cake and, yesterday, a reader sent me two recipes she spotted in an Italian American magazine: one was for jello, a food I quite abhor, Campari-flavored or otherwise, and the other for poached pears. Why didn’t I think of it?

I have poached pears in wine, in anise liquor and in Chambord but never in Campari. This recipe, which takes inspiration from the Negroni cocktail, is pretty heavy on the liquor but do not fear: most of it cooks off and what remains is sweetened by the sugar and the pears. It is a very adult dessert and one that even novice cooks can tackle.


RECIPE – Yields 4 servings

• 1 cup Campari
• 1 cup gin
• 1 cup sweet vermouth
• ½ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 3 or so strips orange peel (white part only)
• 4 small Bosc pears
• 1 lemon, cut in half

Directions:
1. Find a heavy pot large enough to accommodate the pears on their sides. Add the Campari, gin, sweet vermouth, water, sugar and orange peels.  Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Cover and reduce heat to low.

  1. Peel the pears using a vegetable peeler, leaving the stem intact.  Rub the pears with the cut lemon halves to prevent them from browning. Cut a thin slice off the bottom to allow the pears to stand straight. Core the pears from the bottom.  Add the pears to the pot and cook until the pears are soft but firm, about 20 minutes depending on the size of your pot and pears.  Give the pears a turn every 5 minute or so to allow them to soak in the liquid.

  2. Remove the pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon a place on a plate.  Allow the pears to cool. Refrigerate until cold.

  3. Simmer the remaining poaching liquid over medium heat until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Place a pear on a plate and using a spoon, drizzle the Negroni syrup over the pear.  Serve with a bit of whipped mascarpone or ice cream on the side.

Recipe by Joe and Michele Becci
Many thanks to Francesca H. for putting it on my radar.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Grazie, molto originale, senz’altro ottime

    December 23, 2016
    |Reply
  2. Ellie
    Ellie

    How delicious !!!! I just love pears in any shape or form, poached, pickled, pies, tarts, sorbets, icecream, and with cheese. I’ve always used wine up to now – but thanks to you I will definitely try Campari next time.
    PS a few words in favour of jelly/jello – I can understand why people don’t like it – but like rice pudding (which, together with jelly, brings back bad memories of school dinners !!!! Ugh!!!!), it has to be home-made, soft, melt-in-the-mouth or not at all – and there are vegan alternatives – instead of gelatin/e. By the way do you have a good Rice Pudding Recipe to suggest ??

    December 16, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I don’t know Ellie. It’s that consistency and blandness I just can’t get past. But I love rice pudding and I do have a great recipe. Will post it next week.

      December 16, 2016
      |Reply
  3. Oh my. That sounds frightfully divine and the perfect Winter dessert. Thanks for sharing. You’re right, Jello ANYTHING should be ash-canned. If people knew what it was made out of perhaps it wouldn’t be nearly as popular even among non-vegetarians. ღ

    December 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Yup. Need to search for gelatin not made from animal products…..

      December 16, 2016
      |Reply
  4. winstonmoreton
    winstonmoreton

    Campari the drink was fashionable in Wgtn NZ in the early 1970’s. Found it again at a wedding in Rome early this century. The blog name caught my attention, was it 2 years ago? A very tasty product

    December 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      It was two years ago you probably came on board but it’s been going for three.

      December 15, 2016
      |Reply
  5. Oh you had me at “novice”. It will be great for Christmas and we have a fridge full of farmer’s market pears. Done and done!

    December 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      My other favorite use of excess pears is a pear sorbet. You don’t really need an ice-cream maker. Just make a pear puree, combine it with some simple syrup and put in a shallow tray in the freezer. Then rake with a fork every half hour or so until frozen.

      December 15, 2016
      |Reply

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