One the things I have loved about collaborations on Instagram is I join groups that will purposely push me and challenge me where I might not normally challenge myself. One of my recent collabs is a monthly fruit photography challenge. In the group are quite a few talented photographers. I joined to push myself and to learn from them. So each month a fruit is selected and we photograph that food, and if we choose, make something with that fruit.
April's fruit is pears, and to challenge myself, I created a dish I wouldn't normally make Cinnamon Brownies topped Poached Spices Pears. I used to make desserts like this all the time when I worked in the industry, now I tend to lean more towards cookies and cupcakes, as they are simpler to create! So, if you are looking for a dessert that might be little bit more fancy check these out. The flavor combo is incredible. So, it is basically 4 components- cinnamon brownie base, ganache, poached pear and a thickened spice simple syrup.
We will start with our cinnamon brownie.
Add your brown sugar and butter to a microwaveable bowl.
Melt butter and sugar. Add in your cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Even with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, the flavor is only subtle at best, so don't expect anything overwhelming. Pour into a medium sized bowl.
Add eggs to the container you used. Mix them before adding to the butter mixture.
It is easier to mix in if you do.
Next, sift in your dry ingredients. I love the Hershey's dark cocoa and use it exclusively.
I like to add this right into a fine mesh strainer to sift into bowl.
Sift directly into bowl. I used these individual brownie pans for this recipe. I prefer this to trying to cut them down to perfect squares. It was just easier. Plus, every brownie has a good crust on it, which I love!
While your brownies are baking, start on the poached pears. Pear them as shown below.
Add to boiling spiced simple syrup. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until tender.
Mix them occasionally to make sure they are cooked evenly.
Check for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into side carefully. remove from liquid and set aside to cool slightly.
Remove all but about 2 cups of liquid from pan. Add in additional honey. And bring to a boil. Boil until it reduces down to a thickened syrup.
While it is reducing, start your ganache. Add heated milk and butter to chocolate chips. Let it sit in the hot milk for about 3-5 minutes before mixing.
If you need to, throw it back into the microwave fro another 10-15 seconds. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly and thicken.
I pressed in the center of my cooled brownies to form a slight indention. This makes it much easier to balance the pear on top.
Your simple syrup should be thickened and reduced by this point. Point into a small bowl to cool a little. This syrup is so delicious and I could easily eat it on it's own.
Now, start the assembly. Pour a few tablespoons on to the brownie.
I cut the bottom of the pear for a flat surface to set on the brownie.
Next, brush the simple syrup onto the pears. Y'all, looking at these photos again is making me so hungry!
I drizzled on a little extra for good luck.
Well, maybe a little more than a little.
Here they are, all in a row. Perfectly delicious!
A little side view.
Plated and ready to go. Let me just say, the boys demolished these in 2 seconds flat. I appreciate they love the food, but would love it if they SAVORED it instead of inhaling it :).
- 1 cup butter
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon if you want a stronger cinnamon flavor, use 3 teaspoons.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you are making your brownies in individual pans like I did, prepare the pans. You can either spray with a nonstick pan spray or brush with melted butter. If you are using pan, this is a 9x9 size. I like to line with parchment as it is so easy to remove. Set pan aside.Now, add butter and brown sugar to a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high until the butter is melted. Make sure and mix well. Bowl mixture into medium size bowl.Add your eggs into the microwave bowl and mix. I do this just to save bowls. I don't dirty any more dishes then I absolutely have to, as I go through a lot of dishes a day! Once the eggs are mixed, add them to the butter mixture. Now, add in vanilla and salt to the butter mixture as well and mix well. Last is the dry ingredients. Add the cocoa powder, flour, and cinnamon to a fine mesh strainer over your bowl.Add all ingredients and tap until all ingredients fall into bowl. Fold until all are combined. Now, pour into your pans and place in heated oven. If you are using individual pans like I did, it took about 10-15 minutes to bake. In the larger pan, it takes about 30-45 minutes. You can use the toothpick to check. Allow to cool for several minutes in the pan before removing. If you used the individual pans, invert over cooling rack. You may need to help them out a little by running a knife carefully around the edges and gently prying out. If you have used the 9x9 pan, simply lift the parchment to remove from the pan.These brownies are awesome on their own, topped with a chocolate buttercream, topped with ganache, served with ice cream or even topped with poached pears, like this recipe. Any way you decide to enjoy them, I know you will love them. They are so good!Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
Poached Spiced Pears
- 4 pears You want them ripe, but just barely. A little firmness is good!
- 2 quarts water
- 1 lemon, juiced If you don't have a lemon, you can use 2 teaspoons lemon juice from bottle
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar if you prefer honey, use it!
- 3 cinnamon sticks if you don't have cinnamon sticks, use about 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoons cloves
- ⅓ cup honey reserve for the end
- Add water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to pot and bring to a boil over high heat. While liquid is coming to a boil, carefully peel pears. You can use a knife or peeler. I prefer the peeler, as I get more consistent peels this way. I find it easier to start at the bottom and peel towards the top. Do this carefully as you don't want to bruise the pears. Add peeled pears to the simple syrup (the liquid you have created above). Turn heat to medium low and simmer until pears are tender. Mine took about 15 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of pears and heat of the water. To test, carefully insert a sharp knife in the side of the pear. Remove pears carefully from liquid and set aside. Now, remove all but about 2 cups of the liquid from pan, including the cinnamon sticks. Add in ½ cup honey. Turn to medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and thickened.If you are using a pan that does not have a thick bottom, keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. I used my thick bottom cast iron enameled pan, so it was good. Let me tell you, this will taste just as good as it smells. It is thick, and so tasty!I love to brush my pears with this thickened simple syrup. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks I did Hershey's dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup milk I had 2% in the fridge, use whatever you have.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place chocolate in a small bowl. Heat butter and milk over medium heat on cook top in small saucepan. You will want to bring this to just under a boil.Pour milk mixture over chocolate. Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes. Once it has set and the chocolate is starting to melt, whisk. Get it nice and smooth. You might need to throw it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Get it nice and smooth. It is ready to go at this point. I let mine cool just a touch, so it was a little thicker when I spread it on. Now, sit back and enjoy! You deserve it!