(NOTE: From our series of recipes from Private Chefs of the SF Baycollective of top private chefs, in and around the Bay, creating 5-star dinner parties (luncheons, brunch and cocktail parties) in your home or venue. Their personal chefs are vetted for quality of food, presentation, service, and even clean-up. Together, they boast over 200 5-STAR reviews, just in the last 2 years!  Among them, you’ll discover chefs with Michelin Star restaurant experience, award winners (including a Chopped Grand Champion and a Top Chef Season 15 contestant!), a self-taught chef who has risen to be named “Best Bay Area Personal Chef” and chefs who have authored cookbooks. “While our culinary styles vary, our cooking philosophies are similar. First and foremost, we believe in respecting the ingredients– which means the natural flavors of what we cook directs our dishes and menus. We work with small, local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen whenever possible– folks who take the same care in creating the ingredients we use as we do in creating the dishes we prepare”.)

Recipe by Chef Andrea Lawson Gray

Photo by Bessie LeCap Photography

(Makes 6 servings)

7 firm pears, any kind that are in season

2 cups Riesling

5-6 oz. Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Star anise

1 Piloncillo cone, available in Latin/Mexican markets (or 3 oz. of brown sugar if unavailable)

4 cloves

4 Juniper berries

Peel pears and leave whole with stem intact, use immediately after peeling so pears do not oxidize. Add 2 cups of Riesling, 3 oz. of Pomp & Whimsy, one piloncillo (or 3 oz. brown sugar if unavailable), one stick of cinnamon, 4 cloves, 4 juniper berries and pears in a saucepan large enough to accommodate all the pears, but just barely. Add water to cover pears. Bring to a boil and reduce immediately to a low simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Make one extra “tasting” pear. This is the one you will check the texture. Remove pears after 15 minutes, check texture. Pears should be still a little firm but not hard (not soft either). Continue to cook if needed to achieve desired texture. Remove pears and allow to cool. Turn pot up (without pears) to a full boil. Boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat, cool and add Pomp & Whimsy to taste. Can me made up to 3 days in advance. Store pears in the refrigerator with the syrup you have made. To serve, if pears are small, serve whole, if larger, cut in half (tip to base) leaving the stem on but using a small spoon, “carve” out the core, that’s the small area where the pits are, after you have cut the pear in half. Serve with a mint or tarragon leaf.

If you’d like me to cook this dish, or another from the recipes here on my blog, go to www.chefandrealawsongray.com and book me for an In-Home Culinary Experience.

Pomp and Whimsy brings modern sensibilities to the tradition of gin making, by infusing classically distilled gin with a natural, delightfully flavorful botanical liqueur.

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