The Au Pear
One of our friends is allergic to pears - her favourite fruit - unless they're cooked. But it's Autumn! And pears are in abundance! So instead of letting her pine away pearlessly, I figured that cooking them up and incorporating them in a cocktail recipe could be a fun way for her to enjoy them.
What goes well with pear? Vanilla seemed to be a natural choice, with a neutral-tasting vodka to give the alcoholic content, and a dash of pear brandy to add some oomph. I did a couple of test runs with some sugar syrup as well, but my enthusiastic test subjects and I all deemed it an unnecessary ingredient - the sugared rim and the pear purée provide more than enough sweetness to the drink, and adding the lemon juice cuts through that and gives just a little bit of zing.
It seems only fitting that this drink, made in the honour of my dear friend Kylie, who has a history of taking care of small children, is titled The Au Pear.
And just in case there was any doubt, we advise against drinking this whilst taking care of small children, of course.
- 2 pears, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- 30ml vodka
- 30ml pear purée
- 10ml lemon juice
- 10ml Williamine (or other pear brandy)
- Make the pear purée by placing the pear cubes, water and sugar in a small saucepan on a low heat.
- Simmer until the pear pieces have softened (around 10 minutes or so, depending on the ripeness of the pears), then remove from heat and pour into another medium sized bowl, add the vanilla seeds and purée with an immersion mixer.
- Cool in fridge for at least an hour or two. The purée will keep for a few days so can be made ahead of time.
- Prepare two saucers by spreading a small handful of sugar in one and the juice of half a lemon in the other. Dip the rim of the cocktail glass into the lemon juice, then into the sugar so that the rim is covered all the way around.
- Put a generous handful of ice in a shaker.
- Add the vodka, pear purée, lemon juice and Williamine.
- Shake well, strain into prepared glass and serve immediately.
Unless you're making huge quantities of cocktails, you won't use all the purée, so you can eat it on plain yoghurt or cereal for breakfast!
If you want to add more pear purée to extend the drink a little further, go right ahead. It'll just be a lot thicker.
I guess it's also possible to use pear juice if you can find it, but I really like using pear purée, even if it requires a little forward planning.