Mise en Place: Pears

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Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture's list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state's agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

September is quite apparently the time for pears, as KRCC's Aaron Retka had a heck of a time getting in touch with any grower able to step away from harvest. As a result, this month's Mise en Place is dedicated entirely to eating pears. Aaron spoke with Chip Johnson, executive chef and owner of the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery in Colorado Springs.

Click below for the buttercream poached Colorado pear recipe heard in today's Mise en Place, and for a recipe for tropical tapioca "risotto" from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Buttercream Poached Colorado Pears with Apple-Abbey Divinity Port Sauce
Chip Johnson, Executive Chef and Owner, The Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery, Colorado Springs
serves 5

Poaching Liquid:

1 qt. water
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1 tsp. lemon juice

Heat to boiling.

Buttercream Filling:

5 egg yolks
pinch of vanilla bean seeds
3 T. water
3 T. sugar
1/4 lb. room temperature unsalted butter

Beat egg yolks until thick, lemon colored, and ribboning. Add seeds from vanilla bean. Combine the sugar and water, and bring to a 250* boil. Beat the hot sugar into the egg yolks, continue beating until cool, and then gradually beat in the butter.

Nougat Anglaise

3/4 C. shelled, roasted hazelnuts
3/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. water
3/4 C. creme anglaise

Combine sugar and water and bring to a medium boil. Cook until sugar mixture turns a golden color, about 10 minutes. Spread hazelnuts out on a sheetpan, pour the sugar mixture over the nuts and allow to cool until hard. Put in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Stir into creme anglaise.

Apple-Abbey Divinity Port Sauce

3/4 C. apple cider
1/2 C. Holy Cross Abbey Divinity Port

Combine in a saucepan and reduce over low heat to about a quarter of the original volume. Keep warm for final plating.

Method with Pears

Core the (5) pears without cutting through the outside of the stem end; this can be done with an apple corer, a thin bladed knife, and needle nose pliers. Carve a series of leaves around the stem of each pear, then immerse them in the boiling poaching liquid. Turn down to a simmer and poach for 8-10 minutes, until the pears are tender. Dry on baking rack until cool. Once the pears are cool, they can be filled with the buttercream by inserting a piping bag into the hollow core.

To serve, spoon a small amount of the nougat sauce onto a serving plate so as to form a pool. Arrange a pear in the center of the plate and drizzle with the apple-port sauce. Garnish with fresh mint and berries if desired.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

Tropical Tapioca "Risotto"
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., Valley Country Club, Aurora, Colo.
ACF Colorado Chefs Association President

For Tapioca:

1 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
1 Cup Coco Lopez (a non-alcoholic coconut drink mix)
3/4 Cup Cold Water
1/2 Cup Tapioca Pearls
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Paste

Add the liquids to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls and stir well. Continue to stir constantly and cook for 25 minutes or until tapioca is translucent. Cool on low heat to avoid scorching.

For "Risotto:"

1 Cup Tapioca, cooked and chilled
2 Pears, peeled, sliced and sautéed
2 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Strawberries, sliced
4 Tbsp. Toasted Coconut
1/2 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
5 Banana Chips

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked tapioca, pears, strawberries, sugar, soy milk and half of the toasted coconut. Mix well then garnish with more sliced fruit (if desired), remaining toasted coconut and banana chips.