Steamed pears are another generic form of Chinese hot fruit dessert. What can be done with pears can also be done with other fruits of similar shape, size and texture, such as apples and peaches.
Preparation time: 10 minutes,
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes,
Chilling: 2 hours.
- 6 pears,
- 6 teaspoons Kirsch, or any suitable liqueur (i.e. fruit brandies, Crème de menthe),
- 3 tablespoons castor sugar,
- 1 pint of sugar water (4 tablespoons sugar dissolved in 1 pint water).
- Peel the pears neatly, except for the part immediately surrounding the stalk (retain stalk). Slice 1/4 inch off the bottoms so that they will stand or sit firmly.
- Arrange the 6 pears upright on a deep-sided heatproof dish. Pour in the sugar water. Place the dish in a steamer, or on a raised platform mounted in a large boiler. Steam steadily for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the boiler. Sprinkle the pears with castor sugar and liqueur. Allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes and then place the dish in a refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.
- When serving divide the pears into 6 individual serving bowls or cups. Pour some of the syrup over each of the pears.
In the more elaborate versions – if time is of little consideration – the 1/2-inch top of each pear is cut off (to form a lid with the stalk attached) and the fruit is carefully cored half-way through. The cavity of the core is then filled with cinnamon-flavoured honey, nuts, other fruits or whatever you like. The pears are then steamed with “lids” on.