Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pears in Coffee

Dearest readers. Remember me? The girl who promised dozens and dozens of yummy South African recipes? Yup, that's me. Only all the catching up and sleeping in and showing the Little Girl off to all the family sort of got in the way of all the cooking. But I have all the recipes packed and will work my way through them once we're back home, promise.

In the meantime I want to tell you a bit more about my Baby Brother, who I haven't seen for more than a year and missed very much. I briefly mentioned before that he is a coffee roaster, but that's not half of the story. This is what happened. Both my parents were lawyers, and Baby Brother decided to follow in their footsteps. However, after studying like mad for years and qualifying, he decided he'd rather be a filmmaker. As you do.

I was on holiday in the South Island of New Zealand when I got a call from him at four in the morning (time differences not something he appreciated fully at the time). After establishing that there is no major drama, we started talking about his future. He found a wonderful private film school in Wellington which he was dying to attend, and asked me if I'll be able to support him if he did. Of course I said yes (isn't that what big sisters are for?), and we shared a house in Wellington for almost a year.

 Baby Brother (left), Director

We had a fabulous time. His homework was to watch as many movies as possible, so we frequented the cinemas alarmingly often. In that time he made a few films himself, and I was (and still am) tremendously proud of him. After  graduation he worked on a few film sets, but when his visa ran out, he unfortunately had to come home. He needed a steady job to have his visa extended, and that's not something you find in the film industry.

Back home in South Africa work in the film industry is rather thin on the ground, and he started to look around for something else. Enter the Tribeca Coffee Company, a speciality roastery of fine coffee blends, who needed a master coffee roaster. Typical of the optimism of youth, Baby Brother decided a deep love of coffee must be all that's needed, applied, and got the job. And that's what he does now. He works quite hard, but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of coffee and coffee roasting, and, my favourite, he smells of coffee every night he comes home.

So, in honour of Baby Brother, I give you Pears in Coffee. We all know and love Pears in Wine, Pears in a Spicy Syrup, and Pears in Champagne. But Pears in Coffee will knock your socks off, I promise. The pears are poached in the coffee, and then the coffee is reduced to a syrup with the most intense coffee flavour. It is absolutely delicious. And if you want your house to smell like caramelised coffee for a couple of days, do what I did the first time I tried to make this last week and forget about the coffee on the stove. The syrup will burn to a thick paste that sticks to the bottom of the saucepan, but the smell is divine. Or just do it right the first time, and have the most delicious dessert without having to throw out the saucepan. And don't forget the cream.

Pears in Coffee
Enough for 6

6 pears, peeled and cored
1 litre freshly made coffee
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise

Place the pears in a saucepan that is big enough to fit the pears snugly. Combine the coffee, sugar and spices, and pour over the pears.

Simmer the pears over medium heat until soft, but still firm.

Remove the pears and keep separate. Turn the heat up and boil the coffee until reduced to a syrup.

Serve the pears with the syrup and some cream.


  1. Adele

    What an interesting read! Love the idea of pears in coffee, very original I must say! Delightful.

  2. Oh wow I love coffee! These look gorgeous. It must have been so nice having that time hanging out with your brother. Can't think of any better homework then watching movies!

  3. More photo's of baby brother please! :D

  4. Great way of serving pears! My caffeine addicted husband will love it.

  5. Hallo Joumana! It is a nice combination. The first time I made it I could see my brother looked doubtful about the whole thing, but he loved it.

    Hi Heather. We had a great time. I'm really glad we had those months together.

    Anon, this was the only picture he allowed me to use, but I promise you he's very handsome!

    Welcome Marisa. It's a good way of combining dessert and coffee.

  6. Sounds interesting indeed. I wonder if it would work well with cardamom too? I tried cooked pears with cardamom recently and it was delicious, but the coffee would give a whole new depth.

  7. It's as if coffee is the universal poaching liquid... I do roast lamb which is basted in creamy coffee and it is DIVINE!! Who knew :) Definitely want to try this...