Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dip A turd in chocolate and I just might eat it...

 I used to say the same thing years ago about anything deep fried or wrapped in bacon.  Now vegan chocolate whets my whistle.   This far in my non-dairy-ness, it has been 100% impossible to indulge in any dessert at any non-veg restaurant; making desserts something I LOVE to indulge in every so often at home (and any time I visit a veg cafe!).  Here is a recipe I created for Mother's Day, a few days ago.  The idea came from seeing an image of a chocolate dipped pear in some food magazine years ago and it stuck in my head as one of the prettiest presentations I had seen.  My presentation wasn't nearly as elegant, but it worked. 

These are poached in a mix with OJ...but they really are not that citrus-y....just delicious!

Chocolate Dipped Citrus Poached Pears

2 C Water
1 C Organic Orange Juice
1 tsp Vanilla Extract - Don't use that fake crap!  REAL Vanilla!
1/4 C Organic Brown Sugar
1/4 C Organic/Vegan White Sugar (Did you know they use animal bone char to whiten white sugar...for no reason other than appearance?!?  Can you say YUCK!)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
5 Pears ( I used Bartlett but I think a softer variety would have been better.)
1 12oz bag of Vegan chocolate chips....I used Ghiradelli All Natural Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips...or any chocolate that will melt for you that does not contain MILK, MILKFAT, etc.
Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream (Optional...I like So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream...or Tufutti.  Heavenly!)

Peel your pears.  Use your vegetable peeler to shave the bottom of each pear so that it sits flat on a table.  For presentation purposes, I tried my best to keep each stem in contact.  Combine water, oj, vanilla, sugars and cinnamon in a large saucepan on med-high heat and bring to a boil.  As soon as it starts boiling, ass the pears, sitting upright.  Make sure they are at least mostly covered.  Lower heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, lifting the lid and using tongs to check the doneness.  It should be easily pierced with a fork.  As soon as they are done, remove each to a plate, still sitting upright, reserving the liquid in the pan. 

(Note: If you do NOT have a double boiler, use a metal or glass bowl that fits inside a saucepan without touching the bottom.  If it touches...mine did....I used a silicon strainer/steamer to lift the bowl so it was sitting about 1-2" above the bottom of the saucepan)

Line a large plate or tray with wax paper or freezer paper wax side up.  Using a double boiler or your make-shift one, boil water in the bottom chamber or saucepan and add your chocolate to the top or bowl to melt.  Using this prevents the chocolate from burning and keeps it smooth.  Stir the chocolate constantly while it melts until it is smooth with no more lumps.  Turn heat down...the steam will keep the chocolate soft while you work with it...no need to keep boiling.  Using either your hands, or 2 shish kabob sticks to keep pear steady, dip each pear halfway into the chocolate and twist, pull it out and place on your wax paper to cool.  Repeat with each pear.  Place pears in the fridge to cool for about 15 minutes. 

While the pears cool, bring the soaking liquid to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes until reduced by half.  This will create a really smooth sweet sauce.  Turn heat off when it has reduced.

To serve, spoon some of the sauce onto a plate or bowl, place a pear on top and if you're feeling extra randy, throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on there too!  Yumm!


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