Have you have discovered a fruit and then become obsessed with? That’s the story of my relationship with citron, aka Buddha’s hand. I had never seen it and suddenly it was everywhere last winter. One of the fascinating thing about citron is that it can be consumed like an orange because it has no juice. It is basically all zest and rind. Its limitation made it perfect for this Pineapple Citron syrup.
Citron has a zesty smell with floral overtones. It is the floral notes in its oil that I find most intoxicating when I cook with this lovely fruit. When I was thinking of how to balance the syrup, I decided to pair it with lemongrass. Lemongrass, as the name implies, has some of the same notes as lemon with grassiness. Smell is an important part of the experience of drinking. When I build my syrups, I am very conscious of the fact that there is a lot of sugar and sometimes limited palette for taste. By thinking about the nose, I can further enhance the experience of drinking.
The Pineapple Citron syrup is focused heavily on smell, but it also tastes smashingly good. I have always loved the way pineapple feels in the mouth. Chilling down that pineapple taste and then carbonating it makes a massive difference. That’s why for mixing the syrup, I chose crisp sparkling water.
One tip for making this syrup: The Pineapple Citron Syrup taste best when the pineapple is just about to rot. The whole and uncut pineapple is ready when you can smell it in the room and it starts to attract flies. Really! I usually buy a ripe pineapple from the store and just let it hangout in my house for a couple of weeks.
Pineapple Citron Syrup
A lovely pineapple syrup enhanced with the addition of citron and lemongrass. Perfect for mixing mocktails, cocktails and flavoring desserts.
Cut off the crown of the pineapple. Wash the skin of the pineapple thoroughly then chop the pineapple into chunks. Cut the citron into pieces as well. Smash the lemongrass open with a rolling pin or dull edge of a knife.
Arrange the pineapple, citron, and lemongrass in a medium pot. Pour the sugar over the mix and add in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Let the syrup cool down in the pot for about 30 minutes. Strain out the syrup. Don’t be afraid to press down on the pulp in the pot to get the juices flowing out.
To get that super clear syrup, I strain a second time through two layers of coffee filter.
Poaching is one of those things that seems to put fear in the heart of many. Maybe because it sounds so fancy. Who hasn’t had anxiety about poaching an egg? Or maybe a pear? Citron Honey Tea Poached pear is one of those things that I find to be delightful in the winter.
Poaching is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It requires patience because it is not the quickest option. However, poaching is an act of gentle love because it allows flavor to be impacted while maintaining the softness of the food. When a pear is well poached, it does not fall apart. Instead, it maintains its integrity while absorbing the flavor it has been bathed in. This citron honey tea poached pea definitely captures flavor well.
When I was thinking of poaching pears this winter, I really wanted to tap into unconventional flavors like citron. Citron, also known as Buddha’s hand, is one the most mysterious fruits. It is a citrus with a juice flesh. The Buddha’s hand despite is lack of juice is one of the most perfumed fruits or flowers I have encountered. The smell on this fruit is divine. The citron is best used to infuse food.
One of the first way I ever tasted citron was via the citron honey tea that I buy from the Asian food market in a massive jar. I love the citron honey tea because I can drink it on its own merit. Or, I can also use it make other types of tea. Since citron has not juice, it lacks the sour edge of a citrus. This means when I use it in tea recipes, it mostly adds an olfactory experience to the tea drinking.
Poaching the pear in a bath of citron honey tea was like capturing winter on a plate. I loved it. Especially since I served it with a toasted slice of a pound cake I made using King Arthur Flour recipe. I added in some orange oil and zest into that recipe to add another dimension. I often toast my pound cake on the stove to give it a crunch. The plate is rounded out with a dollop of unsweetened whole milk greek yogurt. I almost feel like I could have this citron honey tea poached pear plate for breakfast.
Care to join me?
Citron Honey Tea Poached Pear
D’Andjou Pears are poached in a bath of citron honey tea to capture some of the citrus scent of winter in this easy recipe.
1CupCitron Honey TeaIf you can’t find citron honey tea, you substitute with a citrus marmalade.
Fit your unpeeled pear into a smaller sized pot to test which would hold the pears snuggly and allow the fluid to cover the pears mostly.
Peel and core the pears. If you prefer, you can also cut the pears into half lengthwise.
Once you have found a good sized pot, add the citron honey tea, cinnamon, orange slices, and water. If you are using the sugar, add it in now. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until honey and sugar dissolve.
My trick for getting the poaching bath to the right temperature is turn off the heat. Once it cools a bit, I put on the heat back on to a “barely there” level, then add in the pears. You don’t want to see any signs of boiling or simmering. It should be a very gentle heating process.
After 15 minutes, start checking at regular intervals is the pears are soft yet. The pears are ready if a clean toothpick inserted goes in without pressure.
Retrieve the pears from the poaching bath.
This step is optional: Strain out the poaching fluid and put it back on the heat. Reduce the poaching tea until it coats the back of a spoon. This citron honey syrup can be used to serve the poached pears or even to sweeten beverages and oats.