The pears you can poach in any number of ways – this is perhaps the simplest. I vary the poaching liquid depending on what pears I use and what I’m in the mood for that day – so red wine, white wine, especially a slightly sweeter one such as a Moscato, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel – some combination of these might be incorporated at any given time. Try different pears too, though Bosc is probably the go-to just for superior texture once cooked. What doesn’t change is the incredible Miso Butterscotch sauce, below, which really sets these pears apart. Miso paste, a fermented bean paste from Japan, is available in nearly all supermarkets and certainly at Asian groceries. It’s sold near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the market or with the international foods in shelf-stable packaging. Either version is good, though Danielle prefers the refrigerated versions as the fermentation is fresher. The recipe is from Mark Bittman of the New York Times. This recipe was demoed at USBG September 11, 2014.
2 C water
1 1/3 C sugar
4 Bosc pears; peeled, cored, and quartered
In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add any of the additions that you wish, or leave this plain. Slide in the pears and cover loosely. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid. You can drain the pears and reserve the liquid for another batch of pears (it will keep in the refrigerator for about a month). Or you can boil down the liquid to a thick syrup.
Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts. Stir in the miso and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened and shiny, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add a little more sugar if you think it’s too salty. Use right away or refrigerate, well covered, for up to 1 week and rewarm before using to loosen it up.
Yield: About 2 cups.
Possible additions: Chopped nuts; some sesame oil instead of butter; some honey instead of brown sugar.