Strong and Sweet: Poached Pears

Holidays are over, yet there is one more recipe for dessert that I usually serve on Shabbos Chol-ha-Moed (in the middle) of Sukkos.

“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 Sergey Prokofiev.

Although it has nothing to do with pears, Shakespeare’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!

19 Comments Add yours

  1. I do like pears. This sounds very tasty 🙂
    We make a dessert here in the UK called Apple Crumble, it’s stewed apple and a little golden sugar (I make it with ‘golden’), and I add cinnamon and sultanas and maple syrup, then I top it with crunchy crumble, equal measures of butter, sugar and flour crumbled into ‘breadcrumbs’ then baked in the oven xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also make apple crumble; we love it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, dear Oscar.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A typical Dolly cultural cornucopia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am taking it as a compliment; thank you, kind sir.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail says:

    Yum! These poached pears sound divine. 🍂🍐🍒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Gail.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great fruity dessert. Love Rum and honey together. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Ronit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds delightfully good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mimi!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging, dear brother.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Love you right back!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    That sounds delicious and thank you for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thank you for a sweet comment, dear Lakshmi.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Americaoncoffee says:

    What a perfect fill of love. Yummy flavor of seasonings that accentuate the season. Bravo! 🧀🎭👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, darling!

      Like

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