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Beautiful desert for romance or holidays. Prepare the creme anglaise at least 2 hours or up to 2 days in advance. Prep time includes minimum chill time.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 -10 bartlett pears (firm but ripe)
- 6 cups bottled pomegranate juice
- 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 12 fresh mint sprigs (optional)
- To make the creme anglaise, rinse the inside of a non aluminum saucepan with water and shake out the excess.
- Pour in the milk and place over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the whole eggs, egg yolk, and sugar; whisk just until blended.
- Gradually whisk in half of the hot milk, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan.
- Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, leaving a clear trail when your finger is drawn through it, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 2 days.
- Julienne the zest from the lemon and set aside (reserve the lemon for the juice).
- With an apple corer or a small, sharp knife, carefully core each pear from the bottom.
- Trim the bottoms so they stand upright.
- Leaving the stems intact, peel the pears.
- In a large non aluminum stockpot, combine the pomegranate juice, brown sugar, lemon zest, juice from the reserved lemon and cinnamon stick.
- Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Place pears on their sides in the liquid and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, seed the pomegranates by cutting them in half (careful, the juice can stain).
- Fill a large bowl with cool water.
- Holding the cut fruit under the water, peel back the skin and membrane to release the seeds, allowing them to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
- Discard peels and membrane; drain and reserve the seeds.
- Carefully turn the pears over and cook until a small knife can be inserted easily into the bottom of the pear, 10 or 15 minutes longer.
- Once the pears are done, remove them from the cooking liquid and stand upright on individual serving plates.
- Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
- Pour about 2 cups of the poaching liquid into a small saucepan; simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Mix orange liqueur and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
- Gradually whisk the orange liqueur mixture into the reduced poaching liquid; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring until the sauce thickens to a glaze, about 10 minutes.
- Pour a little of the glaze over each pear, then spread some of the creme anglaise around the bottoms of each one.
- Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with a mint sprig.
- Serve the remaining glaze alongside.