Oven poached teeth

I had to go to the dentist this morning for a 9.00 a.m. appointment.  I had originally thought that at least I wouldn’t have to wait for long, but then I started to wonder if maybe I would have a longer wait than anticipated.  Why? Because in my mind’s eye I can see hordes of Sunday Age readers, all sitting desperately in dentists’ waiting rooms, with their teeth clamped shut.

I blame Guy Grossi’s oven poached pears, featured in yesterday’s Sunday Age.


Beurre bosc pears?- check.  Cinnamon stick?- check.  Star anise?- no, but  I bought some. In went the pears to cook in the saucepan for 20 minutes or until the pears were just tender.  Well, it was a good 30 minutes before I could persuade myself that perhaps they were slightly more tender than when I put them in half an hour earlier.  Into the oven, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hr 15 minutes- ye gods, they still looked like albino walruses wallowing in barely coloured syrup and as hard as rocks.  So, in desperation, back onto the stovetop to somehow make them “caramelized and sticky.”

Well, that worked.  So well that once they hit the bowls, they clamped immediately onto the bottom, only to be shifted by multiple applications of boiling water and soaking over night.  “Mmmm” we said, taking a mouthful of pear, only to realize that the caramel set like cement between our teeth.  “Mmmm” was all we could say, really. That, or “mmnnnngggttttsssshhhh”.

You can keep your oven-poached pears Mr Grossi.  Dentists throughout Melbourne and Sydney (and anywhere else the Sunday Life is published) thank you.  I don’t.

16 responses to “Oven poached teeth

  1. Hehe, and the recipe sounded so easy.

  2. Aaah! I once went to a lot of trouble over pretty much the same recipe, and this went on to become lore in the annals my dinner party debacles as the “Bouncing Pear Incident”, wherein they lurched out of the bowl and onto the floor the second anyone tried to get a spoon into the pear. The lesson I learnt was that the pears need to be soft BEFORE you cook them. Otherwise, use the boiled cockatoo recipe, throw an axe head in with the pear, and when the axe head is soft, take out the pear and throw it away, and eat the axe head.

    From One Who Knows.

    PS, This has clearly got to be some sort of scam from cooking writers. They all KNOW this isn’t going to work. The pears in the photo are probably marzipan or something.

  3. This is hilarious! The Spouse was going to cook these!

    • residentjudge

      I know, Andrew- I thought it was simple and that’s why I cooked it! It looked so good in the picture, too. Don’t tell the spouse, Lisa and see if he can get it to work? – he’s a much better cook than I am! Although Lenore’s experience isn’t very encouraging- it obviously wasn’t just me. There’ll probably be a correction in next week’s paper saying oops- should have been 1/4 cup of sugar, or cook for 2 hours 40 minutes.

  4. Well, actually, pears poached in red wine a la crockpot is a bit of a specialty of mine, so if anyone’s going to risk it, perhaps it should be me…
    Could your pears have been not quite ripe rather than firm? It can be hard to tell with pears. But the real problem is the caramel. I like the taste of it (in moderation, not all over the fruit as in the picture) but I’ve never had any luck cooking it – It’s too easy for caramel to turn into rock-hard toffee…and then the washing up is a nightmare.

    • residentjudge

      Tell me about it! It took 24 hours to loosen the toffee!

      • You know the trick with burnt saucepans? First pour just enough oil over the base of the pan to cover it, than heat it very very gently for 5 mins, then leave it overnight. You may need to do it 2-3 times with real disasters, but it works most of the time, with S/S and Le Creuset saucepans.

  5. And what did the dentist say???

    Perhaps it is all a wicked plot by dentists in collusion with journalists to stimulate the economy – a dentist led recovery?

  6. The Guardian has some advice for The Resident Judge – ‘The great recipe swindle‘!

    • residentjudge

      Ah, that’s me! Swindled! The rather sad thing is that I only cooked it because it looked easy and because the picture was rather appealing. Knowing what they do with food styling, it was probably some toxic concoction they smeared it with anyway to make them look as if they had that rosy, caramelly glow. Oh well, nothing ventured. At least my fillings remained intact (and fortunately, not added to either!)

  7. BTW Perkinsy, here are two more titles for your list of female historians: Bold Palates by Barbara Santich (reviewed on my blog) and just released Larrikins by Melissa Bellanta.

  8. Ah, another fascinating post. Whilst I don’t claim to be an expert, I poached the occasional pear in my time. They always take much, much longer than the recipe suggests. Actually any food pretty much takes longer then the recipes suggests. Pears though take the much, much longer variant. I don’t know how they profess to cook it in that time. I do love poached pears, and this does sound lovely. Perhaps I’ll try too?

    • residentjudge

      Please do!! I’d be interested to know if it was just me…

    • Lst night I poached pears, as usual in the crockpot, and as usual they were scrumptious. Leaving their stalks on, peel as many pears as you can fit side by side into the crock pot. In a saucepan, dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 2 cups of red wine. Pour over, put the lid, and cook on low for about 4 hours. Serve with vanilla ice-cream and some of the sauce poured over.
      There is nothing easier than this for a dinner party and guests love it.

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