I love pears. My son loves them too and one of his favourite desserts is my Caramel Pears. Both the kids and I also love our Coke - the drinking kind and not the snorting kind. I'd always wondered what a Coke reduction would taste like. I imagined it to be sweetish and with a hint of Coke flavour. That's when I decided I would make Poached Pears with a Coke reduction sauce.
The whole family are great fans of MasterChef(USA) and Junior MasterChef (Australia) as well. There is so much we all learn from watching it and it is great fun. In one episode, the junior Masterchefs had to make poached pears and this is where I was introduced to the cartouche. The term cartouche, in cooking, refers to a circle of parchment or grease-proof paper that covers the surface of a liquid reduce evaporation. It is often used in poaching to keep the liquid over the surface of the items being poached.
Cartouche is also the term used to describe a set of Egyptian hieroglyphs enclosed in a rectangle with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. You can often find a lot of rectangular shaped jewellery with hieroglyphics in them. This is a cartouche. Anyway, I digress.
To poach the pears, I used a combination of spices to add some flavour to the pears. While the pears poached, I boiled the coke to reduce it. My son asked me expectantly whether the sauce would have a 'gassy' taste to it so I took that as a good opportunity to teach him about carbonated drinks and how boiling would get rid of all the CO2 in the drink.
2 pears - pealed and quartered
2 cups water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 stick cinammon
2 cups coke
Place the pears in a deep saucepan and add in the water. Add in the sugar, cinnamon and cloves and cover with a cartouche. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer until the pears are tender.
Meanwhile, boil the coke until it reduces to a thick syrup
The coke took an inordinate amount of time to reduce but it finally did. There wasn't any milk or cream on hand and I was a tad disappointed as I wanted to add a little milk to the reduced coke to lighten it and make it a little more creamy.
The coke reduction was very interesting but a tad too sweet. It would certainly have been nicer mixed with cream or at the very least served with some whipped cream. I dont think I will make a coke reduction again as it is far cheaper and nicer to make a caramel. My son and princess both enjoyed the coke reduction but they too agreed that it needed some cream and they also both agreed that the usual Caramel sauce was tastier.
It was a good experience trying it out though and I think a coke reduction might go well as a marinade for chicken or pork. Now thats a thought!