Steve Dorsey, Rio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Makes 1 serving
1 firm-ripe red or yellow Bartlett pear
2-inch piece of vanilla bean
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Fleur de sel
1 well-ripened pear, chilled
Juice of 1 lemon
1-1/4 ounces (generous 2 tablespoons) vanilla flavored vodka, chilled
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) rock candy syrup*
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) cointreau
1 dash orange bitters or bitters
Red pear chips
To make pear chips, preheat oven to 300ºF convection or 325ºF conventional. Place a silpat or piece of parchment paper on the back side of a baking sheet.
Slice unpeeled pear vertically into paper-thin slices (1/16-inch or less). Discard core. Lay slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and combine with sugar. Lightly sprinkle top side of pear slices with vanilla sugar and a pinch of fleur de sel. Reserve leftover vanilla sugar for another use.
Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and dehydrated. While hot, peel slices off tray and return to tray to cool completely. Best used within 4-6 hours.
To make drink, set a cocktail glass in the freezer to chill. Peel, core and chop pear. Place pear in a cocktail shaker; muddle well with a cocktail muddler or flexible spatula. Add 2-3 ice cubes and remaining ingredients. Shake well and strain through a large holed Hawthorne strainer or mesh sieve. Pour into chilled glass and garnish with a pear chip.
*Rock Candy Syrup is double strength simple syrup. To make, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a strong boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Cool.
Note: For more servings, double or triple recipe and whirl all ingredients in a blender.