I had four pears sitting in my kitchen for a long time. Yes, I know there are only three in the photograph, but that’s because three looks better than four. Better balanced. Which is odd, given that it’s an odd number.
Anyway, these four pears sat longer in my kitchen than any pear before them. First they sat near the window, then they moved to the spot between the microwave and the toaster, and finally settled down next to the teapot. They weren’t your usual pears, and I didn’t want to eat them the usual way. They were a beautiful shade of red – something between the red of a brick wall, and the red of the dog-eared Jane Eyre that I found in the market last week. But the most wonderful thing about these four pears was that they smelled of roses. Every time I walked into the kitchen, I would take a long breath in. Four voluptuous red pears, and they made my kitchen smell of deep crimson roses.
I had to do them justice.
So I waited, and the four pears waited. Till D thought that this still-life installation was destined to die a slow death. Finally, on the fifth day, when the scent of roses was at its heaviest and sweetest, I realised that these pears were not meant to become a fancy tart. Don’t fuss with us, they said to me.
They wanted to be kept simple.
So, I poached them till they were soft and translucent, and we ate them with cream and roasted almonds. The tender, sweet flesh melted in our mouths, the roses still sealed in. We sat in silence, late in the night, with our mouths full of fruit and flower.
Poached pears, with cream and roasted almonds
4 ripe pears
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups water
1 tsp lemon juice
A handful of almond slivers, lightly roasted
Single cream, to serve
In a saucepan, mix the water, sugar and lemon juice and bring to boil. Then lower the heat and while the syrup simmers, peel the pears. Cut them in half and slip them into the simmering syrup, and cook till the pears are tender, and look almost translucent. I cooked mine for about 25 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the pears cool down in the syrup. We ate ours while they were still warm, with cream and roasted almonds.