Green Tea Poached Pears With Pistachio Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS:12 pears, Asian or Bartlett
3 cups granulated sugar
6 cups freshly brewed green tea
1 6 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled, sliced into coins
3 lemons, peel only (reserve fruit for another use)
1 bunch fresh mint

Sauce:
3 cups nonfat plain, yogurt, well drained
1 ½ cups buttermilk
3 tsps. pure maple syrup
2 cups natural shell pistachio nuts, shelled, skinned, chopped
12 mint leaves, for garnishDIRECTIONS:1. To poach pears: Place the sugar, green tea, ginger root, lemon peel and mint in a saucepan or stockpot, large enough to hold the pears in a single layer. Reserve.

2. Peel the pears and core with an apple corer or small paring knife, being sure to remove the tart center.

3. Over medium heat, bring the poaching liquid to just under the boil, or until the sugar is fully dissolved.

4. Reduce heat so mixture is simmering and add the peeled, cored pears. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes (the pears should remain somewhat firm). Remove pears from the poaching liquid, allow pears to cool (or chill in refrigerator if made in advance).

5. Sieve solids from the poaching liquid, return liquid to the pan and cook until the sauce is reduced to a coating consistency. Cool and chill covered.

6. For the pistachio sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk and maple syrup. Add the nuts and hold in the refrigerator, covered, until serving time.

7. To serve: Pour equal amounts of chilled, reduced poaching liquid into each chilled serving goblet. Place pears into goblets and then mask with the pistachio sauce. Garnish with chopped pistachios and fresh mint, if desired. Serve immediately.NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Calories 470 (22% from fat ); Fat 11g (sat. 2g); Protein 10g; Carbohydrates 90g; Sodium 85mg; Cholesterol 5mg; Fiber 7g
SERVINGS:12 servingsPHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: Alison Duke, CA