It has been a month since I began a wild hickory nut flavor extract project. The idea was to extract and preserve the flavor of hickory nuts in alcohol the same way vanilla extract is made. When used in cooking the alcohol dissipates in the cooking process but the flavor is imparted to the food.
By the time the hickory nuts stopped falling from the trees the jar of 100 proof vodka was pretty much full of shelled and lightly roasted hickory nuts.
Every once in a while I open the jar just to get a whiff of the wonderful aroma of wild hickory nuts. I have been dreaming up ways to showcase the flavor in a dish and today I came up with a great one.
It has been a week or more since I purchased a bag of pears. They have been reluctant to ripen and remain hard and crisp. It occurred to me that a good way to use them would be to poach or caramelize them. It also occurred to me that the subdued flavor of pears wouldn’t likely overpower the subtle flavor of hickory nuts.
This may not have been one of my healthiest breakfasts but it was one of the tastiest. So, without apology, I sprinkled Demerara sugar into a skillet of melted butter and placed the halved and cored pears cut side down into the bubbling butter.
While the pears were caramelizing I made whole wheat waffles (see, I didn’t totally abandon health principals).
When the pears were softened I took a couple spoonfuls of hickory nut extract along with some of the soaked hickory nuts and mixed them with agave nectar. I poured this mixture into the skillet over the pears.
In a minute or so the alcohol had dissipated and the pears and hickory nut syrup were served over whole wheat waffles.