I’m going to apologize in advance, because once you see what I’m about to show you, it can’t be unseen. I’ve been keeping a secret for years and it’s time for me to get it off my chest.
Every time I see a poached pear I think it looks like a tiny turkey leg. Does’t matter what kind of dessert it’s used in. Doesn’t matter what the exact preparation is. I always see turkey leg. Tiny little turkey leg. This year I finally gave myself permission to fully realize this thought. It’s even better than I could have imagined. I was alone in my kitchen when I slid that tiny Pocky and Sixlet bone into the top of the soft, poached pear. I laughed from the bottom of my soul, like a Disney villain. It was perfect. It’s everything I thought it could be and it’s delicious. I could have stopped there and enjoyed my tiny poached pear turkey leg on its own. I could have, but I didn’t. At that point there was no stopping me. What’s funnier than a tiny poached pear turkey leg? A tiny poached pear turkey leg nestled on top of brown butter cream cheese frosting “mashed potatoes” drizzled with caramel sauce “gravy”, that’s what. I knew my gingerbread cake would provide the perfect vessel for the affair.
I hope these recipes and tutorial make you as happy as they make me. Most of all, I hope it gives you and your family a little chuckle as you gather around the table to share Thanksgiving dinner. There’s truly nothing better.
How to Make Poached Pear Turkey Legs with Caramel Gravy
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- 6 tiny pears (Seckels or small Anjou work perfectly)
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 Pocky cookies (flavor of your choosing)
- 12 Sixlets (round chocolate candies)
- 1 cup white chocolate or candy coating
- 1 batch Caramel Sauce (or store bought)
- Gingerbread Cake (optional)
- Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
Poach the Pears
Peel the pears. Smooth over the peeler lines by gently buffing each of the pears with the scrubby side of a brand new sponge. This is a trick I picked up back in my restaurant days. (It also works for apples.) Use the tip of a small paring knife to cut down into a pear around the stem and pull the stem out. Use a melon baller to scoop up into the bottom of the pear to remove the seed area. Repeat with all of the pears. Dry the pears with a clean towel if they become too slippery to handle.
Add the pears to a medium sauce pan along with the wine and honey. Add water, if needed, to ensure the pears are covered by about an inch. Cook the pears over medium-high heat until tender. The tip of a knife should slide easily into the flesh. The timing will vary depending on how large and how ripe your pears are, 10-15 minutes.
Remove the cooked pears from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon. Lay them on a clean towel or paper towel to drain and cool. Pop them in the fridge to speed the cooling process.
Make the Leg Bones
While the pears are cooking, melt the white chocolate or candy coating in a small heatproof bowl. Dip the end of a Pocky cookie into the white chocolate by about an inch or so. Gently tap the cookie against the side of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate. Lay the dipped cookie on a piece of parchment paper and arrange two Sixlets at the end of the stick, making sure the each come into contact with the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cookies and Sixlets. Allow the chocolate to set before moving on, about 5 minutes.
Pick up one of the cookie sticks and dip the end with the Sixlets attached to it back into the chocolate to re-coat everything. Gently tap the cookie against the side of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate and return it to the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Set them aside to allow the chocolate to harden, about 10 minutes. Trim away the un-dipped portions of the cookies and discard or snack on them.
Assemble the Cake or Cupcakes (if making)
To make the cake: Set one of the cooled gingerbread cakes on your cake stand or platter. Top the cake with half of the brown butter cream cheese frosting and spread it around to the edges. Top the frosting with the second cake. Skim coat the cake with a thin layer of the frosting. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the cake and let it drip down over the sides. Mound the rest of the frosting up on top of the cake and swirl it around like mashed potatoes.
To make cupcakes: Top each cupcake with a dollop of brown butter cream cheese frosting.
All Together Now
Place one of the pears where you’d like to serve it (on a dessert plate, as a cupcake topper, or on a layer cake). Slide a bone cookie into the top of the pear. Drizzle the pear with caramel sauce and allow it to drip down over the leg. Be careful not to drizzle the bone, so you don’t melt the chocolate. Repeat with as many pears as you like.
P.S. You could make this as a regular old cake with regular old poached pears…I suppose.