Sunday, January 02, 2005

Caramelized, Vanilla Scented, Bartlett Pear Compote

I conjured up this recipe as an accompaniment for foie gras. I think it would work equally well, served warm, with a creamy vanilla ice cream.

click on the photo to enlarge

3 Bartlett Pears, peeled, cored and diced into tiny cubes
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 vanilla pod
1 1/2 cups of water

Halve the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into a small non-stick saucepan. Add the remaining pod with the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave, approximately 30 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the mixture starts to caramelize. From herein, continue to stir every 30 seconds or so, for the next 10 minutes, until all of the fruit is sticky with a golden brown caramel colour.

Whole Goose Foie Gras in Aspic with Port Wine, Caramelized Vanilla Scented Bartlett Pear Compote, Walnut Toast
I served this compote on Christmas Day with what turned out to be a small but delicious Foie Gras. I was in trouble, just a little, with Fred when he noticed I'd prepared the walnut toasts earlier. They were, therefore, cold and crispy. No one else seemed to mind but I think Fred was a little bit disappointed as he was expecting warm, freshly toasted bread as he would have had in France. I was upset that I'd failed him, slightly, especially considering all the effort we'd gone to source the foie gras in the first place. But now I know and I certainly won't get my bread presentation wrong next time!

click on the photo to enlarge

No harm done, the foie gras, and the compote were still a hit, despite the cold toast. One guest, protesting she didn't want to try it, was cajoled into doing so by her boyfriend. But once, she'd tasted it, she couldn't get enough of it. Another friend was adamant she doesn't like it. But after watching the rest of us Ooooh and Aaaah over how delicious the combination was, even she had a small sliver and declared that she might be converted.

Listen up Arnie. Ten people in a kitchen somewhere in California, all of them enjoying a slice of Foie Gras.

If you are really interested in learning more about foie gras, keep an eye on Derrick's blog An Obsession with Food. He has done a lot of research into foie gras production and has written several pieces on his blog including Why do people eat Foie Gras at Christmas? and The Dilemma of Foie Gras.

We served the foie gras with a really delicious 2000 Chateau Roumieu Lacoste Haut Barsac Sauternes recommended to us by the helpful staff at The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants.
Caramelized, Vanilla Scented, Bartlett Pear Compote


  • At 3/1/05 20:04, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, Christmas was wonderful. yummy, indulgent and memorable. Thank you. Katja

  • At 12/1/05 17:23, Blogger claudine said…

    hello sam, it's been a while since i've been surfin about the food blog world, but i wanted to make sure to wish you & fred a happy new year (2 weeks late)! thanks for the tip on the foie ... and for where to find derrick's posts on the subject.


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