When the holidays are over and January rolls back into town, the likelihood of me leaving my house after 6 pm decreases dramatically. Not much seems worth abandoning the warmth for, especially if you’ve already made it into your softest sweats and fuzziest slippers. There’s nothing like cozying up on the couch with a warm cup of tea when it’s treacherously cold outside.
I love a good cup of tea all year round, but when it’s chilly out, a steaming mug of the stuff feels like a big hug. Just what you need after a long day.
I’m currently obsessing over two things: Chai tea and oranges. They both feel like such a warm reprieve from the dreary January weather. Chai originated in India, where black tea is mixed with spices found commonly in the region; cardamom, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. It also happens to be the word for “tea” in many languages, including Greek.
I appreciated that when I lived there because, unlike most of the vocabulary, it was easy for me to remember.
I couldn’t pass by these elegant looking Bosc pears when I saw them last week. They are so good all on their own, but once they were in my kitchen I really felt like they needed to be combined with the warm flavors of Chai and orange that I can’t seem to get enough of lately.
I figured a little bit of honey and chocolate couldn’t hurt either.
So I decided to give those pears a bath in some Chai tea and orange juice. It just felt like the right thing to do.
Poached pears seem fancy, but they’re really easy to pull together. And they look so pretty, and that always makes things more delicious.
But straight out of their bath, they looked a little cold.
Until you cover them in a warm blanket of Chai chocolate sauce. I used some raw cacao that my Uncle brought over to our house on his last visit. It’s less refined than commercial chocolate, so it retains more of its antioxidants.
Isn’t it perfect when you can get your antioxidants so deliciously?
So, your pears gently simmer away in some honey sweetened orange Chai. They make their way to a pool of cardamom coconut cream, where they are carefully drizzled with a sticky Chai chocolate reduction. The final touch comes with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios.
Sounds like a spa day for a bunch of lucky pears.
Or the perfect cure to a dreary winter’s evening for you.
- 4 bosc pears, or other pear variety
- 4 teabags chai tea
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- peel from 1/2 an orange
- 2 tbs honey
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- pinch of salt
- 1 small can coconut cream (5-6 ounces)
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- tsp honey
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp raw cacao or unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tsp honey
- pinch of salt
- chopped pistachios
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add tea bags, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel. Reduce heat slightly, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove orange peel and tea bags, squeezing them as you do.
- While you wait for tea to steep, peel 4 pears and remove the core from the bottom with a melon baller or small paring knife, leaving the stem intact. Add the pears to the pot of liquid, making sure they are submerged. Bring back to medium high heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, depending on the ripeness of your pears.
- While the pears are poaching, combine one can of coconut cream with cardamom, honey, vanilla, and small pinch of salt. You can simply whisk by hand or use a hand mixer. Set aside.
- When pears have finished cooking, remove from heat and use a ladle to transfer 1.5 cups of poaching liquid to a small saucepan. Leave pears to sit in remaining liquid as you prepare sauce. Add raw cacao or chocolate, honey, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes, until liquid has reduced to a sauce.
- Divide cream between 4 serving dishes. Place one pear in each dish on top of cream and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with crushed pistachios.
You can slice pears and half and remove the core, but I think a whole pear makes for a better presentation
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.