Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Pears and Vanilla Crème Fraîche
March 24, 2011, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Desserts, Fruit | Tags: , , , , ,

Philadelphia is a very underrated city.  This assumption is not based solely on my opinion, but also on the opinion of Time & Leisure Magazine.  Time & Leisure named Philadelphia one of the 25 most underrated cities in the world.  I realize that I share many of these highly non-scientific polls in my blog, but I totally agree with this one.  As the fifth largest city in the U.S. we have so much to offer.  We have a big city atmosphere without that big city overwhelming feel, plenty of amazing restaurants (including Vetri, which is a finalist for the James Beard Award for best restaurant in the nation), plenty of history, art, music and theater, the largest municipal park in the country in Fairmount Park, fantastic sports teams, some say the greatest density of places of higher education than anywhere else and plenty of ways to stay active and healthy outdoors such as running, biking or rowing along the 215 miles of trails or 34 miles of waterway.  Even though Philadelphia is great now, it’s only going to get better.  Philadelphia’s mayor has a green initiative to increase the amount of green throughout the city thereby attempting to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the country, the addition of more running and walking trails and to turn an old pier to a new park along the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge.  Furthermore, as you walk around the outskirts of Center City it is clearly evident that the lesser appealing neighborhoods and rowhomes are improving. So truly, to many of those who are not aware of what Philadelphia has to offer, our city may seem ugly and boring, but really it’s one of the best places to live in the East.

Buttermilk Cake with Riesling-Poached Pears and Vanilla Crème Fraîche (from Food & Wine Magazine)

This post is from Food & Wine Magazine which you may remember is a result of my cousin’s magazine drive.  I chose this recipe for this post because of how the author describes the pears: “We get these crazy organic pears that are ugly as sin.  Peeling them, though, reveals a fruit so beautiful and juicy…”  However corny this may be, I relate this description to the impression that many people outside Philadelphia have of our city and it’s reality which is very briefly highlighted in Time & Leisure Magazine.

I would recommend a couple of things: make everthing a day ahead of your intended serving date.  It doesn’t take long to make, but it is fairly labor-intensive.  Store the pears and crème fraîche in the refrigerator.  However, allow the pears to return to room temperature before serving.  Lastly, don’t make your own crème fraîche.  It involves leaving cream, etc at room temperature for over a day.  I attempted it but feared that I was going to get my guests sick so I ended up buying some from Whole Foods and then adding the confectioners sugar and vanilla bean.


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