The Mister is trying to lose weight. I have a sweet tooth, particularly for desserts of the chocolate and high-fat variety. I felt really bad eating chocolate ice cream with an almost equal amount of whipped cream on top while he ate an apple, so I decided to make a dish that I haven't made since culinary school: poached pears.
Poached fruit is versatile dessert. It can be eaten warm, room temp or chilled; on its own, with ice cream, or a slice of cake. Most firm, juicy fruits can be poached. I used white wine below, but you can use red as well, which adds a beautiful jewel tone to the fruit flesh.
Pears are a particularly good fruit to poach because their natural flavor is so light, they take on the flavors of the poaching liquid and any added spices very well. Experiment with different spices: whole cloves, star anise, allspice berries.
The skin of the fruit can be left on (which prevents the fruit from falling apart as it poaches), or it can be peeled off (trying to cut through the peel with just a dessert spoon is a bit difficult).
And the aroma this creates should be one of Yankee Candle's next scents!
Cinnamon-Vanilla Poached Pears
Adapted from Alton Brown's recipe on FoodNetwork.com
- 1 (750 mL) bottle Riesling or other dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 4 Bosc pears
- Combine the wine, water, sugar, vanilla bean and pulp, and cinnamon stick in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pear, and core the pear from the bottom.
- Decrease heat to medium low, and submerge the pears in the liquid. Cover the sauce pot and simmer the pears for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Remove the pears from the liquid.
- Remove the vanilla bean and the cinnamon stick and discard. Increase heat to high again, and boil the liquid until reduced to approximately 1 cup of syrup (about 20 to 25 minutes).
- Serve the pears and syrup on their own, over vanilla or caramel ice cream, or alongside a slice of your favorite cake, such as gingerbread, pound cake, spice cake, etc.