Strong and Sweet: Poached Pears

“For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Do I really have to cite a source for this one? I’d rather have you enjoy the beginning of “star-cross’d lovers” tragic story, as brilliantly expressed in music by Prokofiev.

Although it has nothing to do with pears, Shakespear’s play does have a nightingale that “sings on yon pomegranate tree,” which brings us somewhat closer to my whimsical holiday dessert.

Chagall Song of Songs

A  famous, albeit methaphorical, story of a much earlier pair of lovers, King Solomon and his beloved Sulamith, is immortalized in the Torah (Kesuvim) as the Song of Songs, authored by Shlomo haMelech (King Solomon) himself: “… if the pomegranates are in bloom…there I will give you my love.” Among the images conceived by the genius of Marc Chagall in his illustrations to Song of Songs, we can clearly discern pomegranate seeds, symbolizing peace, abundance, and prosperity.

songofsongs-detail-2

This beautiful representation of a blooming pomegranate tree, complete with actual fruit, reminds us that the love story is not literal, but rather an allegory of deep love and devotion between the A-mighty and His people. Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest sages of all times, states,”All Kesuvim (Writings) in the Torah are holy, but  Shir haShirim (Song of Songs) is holy of holies.”

Related image

Let’s extract all 613 seeds (or however many you find – there is always an argument about the number!) from a ripe pomegranate and put them aside. And let’s go down in history before King Solomon’s times, to meet yet another famous biblical hero, Shimshon (Samson) and examine yet another tragic, yet heroic love story. Shimshon got involved with a wrong girl. Happens to heroes sometimes, right? As he was rushing to keep his date with her, he was attacked by a lion, whom he successfully killed. Nothing stops a hero on the way to his lady! On the way back, though, he observed bees flying out of the lion’s carcass where they had stored honey, which gave him an idea for a well-known riddle: “From the devourer came forth food; and from the strong came out sweetness.”

Poached Pears 1

Shimshon’s riddle is one of the reasons we use bees’ honey, rather than date honey, starting on Rosh Hashana and throughout the holiday season, ending with Simhas Torah. If you want to keep it vegan, feel free to use date honey, while keeping the same message: “from the strong came out sweetness,” from bee sting comes out honey, and from negative comes out positive. So simmer rum with honey and a dash of cinnamon, stirring it often.

Poached Pears 2.jpg

Certainly, we should dip apples in honey, as I have explained here, but for this dessert, served on Shabbos Chol-ha-Moed (one of the four interim days of Sukkos), I had these juicy ripe pears, sliced paper-thin, for three important reasons:

  • I’ve never made poached apples, although will experiment in the future.
  • Our friends brought these pears, and it was too much of a temptation because…
  • I love poached pears!Poached Pears 3.jpgPour your rum and honey syrup, by now thickened and reduced by about half, over these translucent pear slices and show your love and devotion by sprinkling pomegranate seeds on top. Cover and let it cook itself to perfection in a fairly hot oven.Poached Pears 4Serve it chilled in your Sukkah (this is an Esrog box designed for my husband as a miniature Sukkah by a Russian artist Eduard Kryman) or at your holiday table, and may your year be both strong and sweet, and full of blessings!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium size very ripe pears
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/4 cup honey or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  •  Combine rum, honey, and cinnamon. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer for about 20 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir frequently.
  • Slice pears paper thin, arrange in baking pan. Pour rum/honey reduction over pears, top with pomegranate seeds. Bake covered for 10 minutes.
  • Serve chilled.

Enjoy!

41 Comments Add yours

  1. The Song of Songs is so beautiful, and your recipe sounds like it would delight even a king.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, dear Mimi!

      Like

  2. Rum and honey – such wonderful pairing with the pear! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Very cute – “pairing with pear”! Thank you so much, dear Ronit, for your kind words. I hope you enjoyed the Hagim!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad you liked my pun. 🙂
        I have enjoyed the Hagim, especially all the traditional foods. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I suspect your traditional foods are different from my traditional foods, and I would have also enjoyed them greatly.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Since I come from Israel, it’s a mix of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi foods. Twice the fun! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful post, Dolly. Elements nicely written, illustrated, and linked

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. purpleslob says:

    I’ve never eaten pomegranate seeds anyway but raw. This sounds delightful! I’ve had poached pears once, and they were scrumptious! As always, I love your stories as much as your recipes!! (Even though I know Shimshon is true, as is King Solomon.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course they are true, and I thank you for understanding and for your lovely comment, Melinda! Stay tuned for a cake dedicated to my favorite purple person!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        I loved my peach pie!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. purpleslob says:

        Now, Dolly, you know me better than that!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. LOL Oh come on, you can surprise your hubby with an easy cake!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tiffani Leon says:

    Как вкусно 😋 попробую непременно 👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Спасибо! А еще проще залить эти же тонко нарезанные ломтики груши любым ликером, по вкусу, и сунуть в духовку. Дальше по рецепту.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Like

  6. lifelessons says:

    What a pretty dessert, but you forgot the chocolate, Dolly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Mea culpa! You are the one who should spot this, sure!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much, dear Anna, and thank you for reminding me to reblog this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    The first two days pf Sukkot are over. We got rained on in the Sukkah, but rain is a blessing, so it has not in the least dampen our enjoyment of this holiday, called also The Time of Rejoicing.

    Like

  8. CarolCooks2 says:

    I have mentioned Etrog in this weeks Wednesday post as in a yellow citron or Citrus medica used by Jews during the week-long holiday of Sukkot as one of the four species…I love the wooden box and the pears sound most delicious 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did I miss it? I’ll go see!
      Thank you very much, dear Carol!

      Like

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        You haven’t missed it darling it’s not out yet..Scheduled for Wednesday this week… Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No wonder I couldn’t find it…

        Like

  9. Revisiting this I am remembering our Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup tins which feature the lion and the sweetness quotation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick; I hope it’s a pleasant memory.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. Although we don’t have any at the moment, Jackie assures me that the tins are still the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are privileged to live in a country where marketing employs quotes from the Bible, rather than pop culture.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. An excellent point, Dolly. Those tins have remained unchanged since Victorian times: “Lyle’s Golden Syrup’s wonderfully evocative green and gold tin has remained unchanged since the reign of Queen Victoria and has never been made anywhere else.

        It remains indistinguishable from the product which went to the South Pole with Captain Scott, cheered up the troops in the trenches and has never stopped flowing despite 68 direct hits to the factory during the Blitz.”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Your country cherishes its history and traditions, whereas American consumerism thrives on disposable goods and, by extension, disposable values.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The fallout of American educational philosophy, dating back to the very beginning of this country’s independence.

        Liked by 1 person

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