Hedy Goldsmith, executive pastry chef of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink, has been recognized by Pear Bureau Northwest as its December "Pear Panache" chef of the month for her Pear and Cardamom Granita with Pistachio Pomegranate Biscotti.
"Chef Goldsmith's granita is a showstopper," said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest. "The unique flavor profile of the Comice pear truly shines and pairs perfectly with the cardamom spice."
Pear Panache is a chef recognition program that each year selects seven culinary experts and their great pear recipe to be featured on PearPanache.com. Keep going for the recipe.
Pear and Cardamom Granita with Pistachio Pomegranate Biscotti
Makes 1 quart granita and 2 dozen biscotti
1 1/2 pounds (about 3) ripe Comice pears
8 cardamom pods, toasted and crushed
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Garnish: Pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs like mint, basil or lemon verbena
Peel, core and dice the pears into 1-inch cubes.
Lightly toast the cardamom pods in a small sauté pan over medium low
heat until they smell slightly toasty, about 2 minutes. Cool and
lightly crush the outer shells.
Put the water and sugar in a saucepan with the cardamom pods, vanilla
bean seeds and pod and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove
from heat. Allow the syrup to sit and infuse at least 30 minute or
longer, if possible.
Strain the syrup into a small saucepan, add the pears and lemon juice
and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until soft and translucent. Remove pan
from the heat and let the pears cool in the syrup.
When cool, puree the pears and syrup in a blender. Pour the puree into
a large bowl, add 3 cups of water, stir well and allthe mixture to sit
overnight in the refrigerator.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a shallow pan,
about 9- by 13-inches. Freeze 30 to 45 minutes then use a fork to
scrape the ice crystals that have formed around the edges of the pan
into the middle. Repeat this step every 30 minutes or so until the
mixture resembles shaved ice. It should take a few hours, scraping
about four times.
Cover with foil until ready to serve.
Make the biscotti between scrapings. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or a medium size
mixing bowl. Zest the 2 lemons into the sugar. Use your fingers to rub
the zest with the sugar; this brings out the citrus oil and coats the
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and pistachios to the bowl. Mix to
incorporate using the paddle attachment on the mixer, or your hands.
Whisk together the eggs, yolk, vanilla and almond extract. Add to the
dry ingredients and mix on low speed or continue mixing with your
hands. The mixture will seem dry at first but eventually comes
together. When that happens, remove dough from the bowl and form it
into a 12-inch by 2 1/2-inch wide log on a piece of parchment paper.
Place the biscotti log on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes total,
rotating the pan after 15 minutes. It will spread considerably. Remove
the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 250 degrees.
Once the log has cooled, use a serrated knife to slice it on a slight
angle or, for longer biscotti, on a greater angle. Place the slices
back on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate
the pan after 10 minutes. The second time in the oven dries the cookies
for crunch. Cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight
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To serve, scrape several spoonfuls of granita into a chilled martini or
wine glass and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Top with several more
spoonfuls of granita and top additional pomegranate seeds and fresh
herb leaves. Serve biscotti on the side.