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I'm poaching some pears. The recipe calls for bringing the liquid to a boil and adding the pears, then simmering until done, about 25 minutes. It then calls for removing the pears from the liquid and letting both come to room temperature, then putting the liquid over the pears again and marinating overnight. Separating the pears and the liquid will let the pears cool more quickly and presumably prevent overcooking. I have heard a rule of thumb that every 10C in temperature doubles the reaction rate. As the pears simmered for 25 minutes, it seems that the cooldown (even if they stayed in the liquid) will not add much to the reactions of cooking. Is there any sense to extracting the pears from the liquid?

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    $\begingroup$ n fact, you answer yourself to the question. When you you take off the pears from the liquid, you stop the undergoing reaction. After that, you put again the pears into the liquid overnight to let the pears impregnate of the good taste of fresh pears and reabsorb the minerals that passed to water. $\endgroup$ – Yomen Atassi Mar 12 '15 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ @YomenAtassi: my thought is that even without removing them, the pot will cool fast enough that the additional cooking (compared to 25 minutes at 100C) is small. $\endgroup$ – Ross Millikan Mar 12 '15 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ I think you can leave one pear in the hot liquid to cool down and you will see. I think the pear will become too soft and loose. $\endgroup$ – Yomen Atassi Mar 12 '15 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ @YomenAtassi: Unfortunately, I have only enough for dessert tomorrow, so I can't do the experiment and followed the recipe. But I wonder.... $\endgroup$ – Ross Millikan Mar 12 '15 at 4:33
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(Note that I'm a rather bad cook, except in the lab!)

Is there any sense to extracting the pears from the liquid?

Yes! Yomen Atassi has already explained that you actually have to consider two (distinct) processes in the recipe:

  1. Cooking the pears for a short period of will yield the right consistency. Additionally, some transformations happening during the cooking will possible break up some cells, convert some ingredients to even more tasty ones, and maybe even facilitate the later take up of other of other compounds from the liquid. If you cook for too long, the pears will be sludge.

  2. Marinating means that the compounds dissolved in the liquid will permeate the pear and add to the taste. Imagine that the pear acts like a spongue and sucks all the good stuff in from the marinade. This needs time.

With a two-step procedure given in the recipe, you should get the best of both worlds and I hope that the dessert was really tasty.

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