And so with puff pastry, delicious gravy, a love of re-purposing leftovers, and an even greater love of Harry Potter. I decided to make vol-au-vents. Which I haven't even posted about yet. But what do you serve with them? The pastry is starchy and the filling is meaty. So a vegetable of course. But for some reason poached pears struck me as well. So I chose that to round out the menu.
6 medium small pears, peeled
4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 allspice berries
a dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
Place everything except the pears in a medium small sauce pan. The liquid should come up high enough to cover the pears when added. Heat until boiling. Add the pears and simmer for 25 minutes or until the pears are tender.
Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside. I covered mine but didn't chill.
Leave the sauce on the stove cooking, it should smell delicious already, and reduce until it's syrupy. Taste when it's about halfway reduced, mine was a little bit too sweet so I added another tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Pour the syrup over the pears and let sit for an hour or so. Any longer than that and they need to be chilled.
To serve, core them from the bottom by running a knife in a tight circle. Make sure the knife cut is deep enough to get all of the core while leaving as much of the pear as possible. The pear can be served like that, but I wanted to make it pretty and cut arched slits from the top of the pear through the base to create the fan.