Let Me Tell You A Little Story About Brandy Poached Pears With French Toast And Vanilla Brandy Syrup


Let me tell you a little story…

In a kitchen in the middle of the Canadian prairies, a short time ago, a woman opened a bottle of brandy that she had received as a gift. She was not normally a drinker of spirits, but it was a gift, after all, and she didn’t want to seem rude. She poured a sample amount into a glass and sipped it delicately.  Getting used to the taste on her tongue, she poured a slightly larger amount into her glass for another small taste, just to be sure it was, in fact, good for consumption. And it was, oh my, it was.


Rather than simply drink the golden nectar, she added a generous amount of the brandy into a pot and proceeded to make poached pears. Certainly a respectable use of such a generous gift. However, to ensure that her taste buds were functioning properly, she poured a double serving of brandy into a glass and sampled one more time. She decided that the brandy was very much to her liking and added another 1/4 cup into the pot with her pears, just for good measure. Not willing to waste any, she held the measuring cup up to her face and swirled her tongue around the inside and around the edge to make certain that she got every last drop. Waste not want not, she decided.

Moments passed and she was beginning to feel quite a bit happier than she was feeling earlier that morning. “Does brandy taste differently directly out of the bottle?” she wondered. There’s only one way to find out for sure. Sip. Nope, it’s exactly the same. Sip, sip, sip. Imagine that!


Before the room began to spin out of control, she thought to get her ample bottom in gear and make the vanilla brandy syrup for her pears.  She boiled the sugar, added the brandy as the recipe called for, and tasted it to see if it needed tweaking.  It seemed OK. She tasted it again, but with a bigger spoon as if that would make any sort of difference. It was better than OK. It was downright delicious! She slurped up half of the vanilla brandy syrup directly out of the pot, without any thought whatsoever.

Suddenly, an incredible warming heat crawled from her belly to the top of her head. She thought that she was having a hot flash, but soon realized that it must be the booze coursing through her unaccustomed veins. So what’s a girl to do but strip off her sweater and rest for a few minutes on the cool kitchen floor.


Her husband walked in and wondered what the heck she was doing sprawled out on the kitchen floor like a drunken sailor.  With the alcohol breaking down her inhibitions, she made a lewd and obscene pass at her husband as he stepped over her on his way to the fridge.  He, of course, ignored her lascivious behavior.  Half drunk woman. Not going there.

His loss, she thought, but oh, what a treat he was going to get on Valentine’s Day! She’d add some french toast to this boozy breakfast and that would make him come running.

The End.

For the record, I don’t, in any way, condone excessive drinking and cooking…at the same time. I do, however, encourage lewd and obscene passes at your husband on Valentine’s Day.

Brandy Poached Pears With French Toast And Vanilla Brandy Syrup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 2

I used Red Anjou pears because they have a more dense flesh and will be able to hold their shape once poached. If you can't get Red Anjou pears, pick a pear of your choice that is slightly under ripe.


    For The Brandy Poached Pears
  • 2 ripe Red Anjou pears
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 cups water
  • strips of zest from 1 orange
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod
  • For The Vanilla Brandy Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poaching liquid
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod
  • For The French Toast
  • 1 French baguette loaf
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt


For The Brandy Poached Pears:

Use a vegetable peeler to strip the pears of their skin. Cut a small piece off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright. Set aside.

Combine the brandy, water, orange zest, star anise, sugar, and vanilla bean in a pot. Heat over medium-high heat until just boiling. Add the pears, cover the pot, reduce the heat to minimum and simmer for 15 minutes. You may have to turn the pears and lay them on their sides occasionally, depending on how deep your pot is. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For The Vanilla Brandy Syrup:

Combine the brandy with the water and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pot, add the sugar with 2 tablespoons of the poaching liquid from the pears. Do not stir them together. Heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt and turns a golden color. You may have to stir occasionally to ensure even melting and caramelization. Once the sugar is a dark amber color, slowly add the brandy/water mixture. The liquid will cause the sugar to bubble and spatter for a moment, and will cause the sugar to solidify. Continue to stir over medium heat until the sugar re-melts and mixes with the brandy and water. Once the sugar has remelted, turn the heat up slightly, bring the mixture up to a low boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and mix until incorporated. Scrape the caviar out of 1/2 of a vanilla bean pod. Stir in the caviar and the vanilla bean pod to the brandy syrup. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean pod before serving.

For The French Toast

Slice the baguette diagonally into 1" thick slices. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter to the pan. Once the pan is hot, dip each piece of the bread into the egg/milk mixture until it is well coated. Fry the bread for 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm with brandy poached pears and a generous serving of vanilla brandy syrup.


Original Recipe by My Friend's Bakery 2015


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