The latest fruit to become seasonally inexpensive in Sydney has been the Packham Pear. Incorporating pears into a drink with resorting to a nasty schnapps has been a bit tough for me in the past, muddling is a lot of work and only seems to impart flavor without that great velvety texture that I associate and love about pears.
With this idea, and a kilo of Packham pears for only 2.99 from Harris Farm markets, I hit the kitchen and got to work making poached pear syrup. First, I peeled the pears, leaving the stalk, as it makes it easy to grab the pear out of the hot syrup later in the process. I used two pears to make my syrup, but if you wanted to have them for dessert you could add one for each guest. Of those two pears, one will be for eating after and one will be for the syrup itself. So on one of them, cut a deep X into the base, halfway up the pear, so it gets really soft. Leave the other one peeled but otherwise whole.
In a saucepan, add 250grams of sugar and 350mls of hot water, stirring it until the sugar crystals dissolve. Add the pears to the pot, put the lid on and set the element to a low heat. (My stove, mark 4 is perfect, it only just simmers but not boils.) Leave it on the stove for a good couple of hours.
The pear with the X might slump a little, so grab some tongs and put it in a blender, put the other pear on a plate, pouring over a couple of tablespoons of the syrup. Add the remainder of the syrup to the blender and pulse until smooth. Strain this over a bowl, you might want to push the pulp through with the back of a spoon and strain it again as well, depending on how much process you can handle.
You should be left with about 350-400mls of cloudy but fine poached pear syrup. While it cools, go and eat the other pear.
The poached pear syrup is great in a Champagne cocktail and makes a fine addition to most sour cocktails.
Grandma’s Minted Pear Cooler.
Combine 60mls Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, 15mls poached pear syrup, 20mls fresh lemon juice, 6 mint leaves and a couple of dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters over ice. Give it a crisp shake and strain it up. It shouldn’t require a double strain due to your efforts earlier on. Garnish with a mint sprig.
I’m also partial to the same drink made with Gin, minus the bitters and I’d love to try it with Fee Brothers Peppermint Bitters too.
You can also serve it in an old fashioned glass with some ice and a splash of soda if you want to summer things up a little, or it’s daytime and drinking from a martini glass makes you feel a touch of a lush.