Spiced Poached Pears With Mascarpone Cream & Vanilla Rice Pudding.
It’s been a long time coming and took a little bit of juggling and re-adjusting positions and schedules but my family is here. My parents, my brother, his wife and my two nieces arrived late Thursday night after a long day of traveling. It’s been nothing but laughter and catching up since then. And it feels good. Real good.. We get to spend a Christmas and New Year’s Eve together. The first time in many many years.
There was no Birmingham in our future when we started planning this family vacation last year. There was no new position in my photography career, no new house, no old house full of moving boxes. No being long distance relationship for me and Bill thrown in the mix. Needless to say, it has taking everyone a lot of giving in, giving up, selflessness to make it happen and have everyone feel good.
That’s my family. Tight. Together. Tighter after the last year mourning so many close loved ones in short periods of time. Tragedy struck us hard many times over the years. But we came out stronger. We came out better and with such an expanded amount of love and "do – live – go" attitude. I know they give me strength.
I had my "this is so worth it" moment this morning when Bill and I took the dogs for a jog on the beach. After the horrendous week that we all felt as a nation and community, sharing the sorrows of so may families, I could not wait to hug mine. My nieces, so beautiful, so young and innocent. Their parents, their fears as caretakers and educators. My parents, for the many many good things and tough lessons they have brought us over the years.
The next few days will be all about cooking together for Christmas, hanging out and just be together. We have decided to mix American and French traditions for Christmas dinner and I am looking forward to breaking into the foie gras and at the same time have my nieces have their first go at sweet potato casserole. One thing for sure, there will be Buche De Noel. And Spiced Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream. And definitely my grandmother’s Riz au Lait, or rice pudding will be made over the next few days.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, filled with good cheers, lots of love and great food. Keep up with traditions or make new ones but most importantly, take care of yourself.
Spiced Poached Pears With Mascarpone Cream:
For the poached pears:
6 Forelle pears (or other small-ish pears)
2 tablespoon mullingcider spice mix
juice of one lemon
For the mascarpone cream:
½ cup heavy cream, very cold
6 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ to 1/3 cup chopped shelled pistachios
Prepare the pears:
Peel the pears and place them, spice mix, lemon juice and enough water to
cover them in a tall saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower
the heat and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the pears are just soft
(poke with a toothpick to check).
Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and allow to
cool on paper towel or baking rack.
Prepare the mascarpone cream:
Place the cream in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
and beat until soft peaks at medium-high speed. Add the sugar and beat until
medium stiff peaks.
Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cream with a
spatula. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Serve the cooled poached pears with a few spoonfuls of cream
and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
Vanilla Rice Pudding
Serve 6 to 8
For the rice pudding:
1 cup short grain rice
1 1/2 cups (315ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split open
1/2 cup (60ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
Pinch of salt
Chopped shelled pistachios
Prepare the rice pudding:
In a stainer, rinse the rice under cold water for a minute
to remove some of its natural starch.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the rice,
milk, cream, sugar to a simmer. Scrape the seeds from inside the vanilla bean
and add to the pan with the salt. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally for
about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let cool for a few minutes and
divide the pudding evenly among ramekins. Top with pomegranate seeds and