January 13, 2008
Birthday Party: Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce
Two nights ago we had some friends over for my dad’s birthday dinner. My mom made my favorite dish of all time, chickpea curry (I’ll post the recipe sometime), and I was responsible for dessert. Dessert is really the battle ground for veganism. A lot of people can’t imagine what we eat for dessert; they think of vegans as sallow, emaciated, dour sorts of people, eating our alfalfa sprouts in self-righteous silence. Not that our friends are the sort of people who think that, but still, many omnivores and even vegetarians can’t imagine dessert without dairy.
So I knew I had to make something good. Not just good, like pie good, but decadent. Chocolatey, perhaps. But not just decadent-chocolatey, like brownies decadent-chocolatey; it had to be sophisticated. I turned to trusty Veganomicon and found what I was looking for. What says “decadent, chocolatey, and sophisticated” better than tea-poached pears in chocolate sauce? With ice cream on the side, garnished with mint?
Lacking an ice-cream maker and time, I decided to use vanilla Tofutti ice cream. Of the brands I’ve tried, Tofutti is my favorite, and I’ve found that dairy-eaters tend to like it, too. Still, vegan ice cream is a bit of a gamble, so we just gave everyone a dollop.
The recipe is really pretty easy to make. Since we had ten people, I made a double-and-a-half recipe, and the only labor-intensive step was peeling and coring the ten pears. If you make a normal recipe, you only have to do four. The bruises on the pears also disappear once you poach them.
And…it was a big hit. The pears and even the ice cream fetched a lot of compliments, but the real praise came in the eating. Almost everyone had seconds on both, and we ended up with a stack full of scraped plates. What little leftovers we had were gone by the next afternoon. Score one for veganism!