Bouchonrecipe, which is to cook 1 3/4 # red comice pears in a simple syrup/wine solution, flavored with I believe vanilla and lemon zest. Since I had some star anise in the spice tub I threw one in as well.
There's something very reassuring about the familiarity of poaching fruit. It was something I had to do every now and then at Temple Bar with pears, and then at Sonsie we'd blanch citrus, mostly, and candy blood oranges at Oleana. (The bizarre thing about the Bouchon recipe is that the amount of liquid given is nothing near enough to cover three pears in any sort of pot, and there are no instructions given to dice the pears. Given the specificity of my dehydrated-pepper blini recipe, I would have expected more. ) I prepared my syrup, then peeled the pear, dropped them in, crumpled up some parchment to rest on top (it helps the entire pear to poach evenly rather than have a crusty, hard side sticking out.
I felt very connected to a history--to my own history and development as a pastry cook, and to the little sphere of people who make sorbets and poach fruit and cook. My first time ever poaching pears was for the midterm in culinary school, when I grabbed a pear frangipane tart and had to revisit the first week of class when we were all still befuddled, while everyone else was jamming on the more recent cakes and mousses. I didn't poach the pears long enough, pulling them out when they were still a little crunchy because I assumed they'd cook and soften in the oven (and my chef instructor said they would).
I really love sorbet when it's done right. Maybe I love it most when it's somewhat bitter--the green apple, or prickly pear.
I think my poaching syrup needs a touch of salt, and citrus zest, if I can find some lemons. And I think I need some sleep. 12 hour workday, it's fine, but I don't really feel like doing anything afterward.
It's rare that I feel connected to other chefs-in-general. Mostly when I'm taking to the guys about how we're all pulling doubles, or on our way to second jobs, or whatnot...Usually I feel that cooking is an act done alone, but done with great love and care.
I'm a little nervous, of course, because it's sorbet and sorbet's always so difficult for me...Maybe it's only ever perfect if it's churned fresh each day. If it comes out well I'll take it to work.
A friend of mine also had an interesting experience at boulette's. Which is all I'm going to say about that.