Happy New Year! I did not make any resolutions this year, but I am working on keeping things simple (but delicious) in the new year with this simplest of desserts – spiced poached pears.
(also, trying to focus on being okay with imperfections – like the slightly bruised pear above, ha!)
I love that this preparation really intensifies both the pear flavor and the spiced winter flavors of the season. Making spiced poached pears is as easy as can be, and you can make one or two or four etc. pears at a time.
The pears are poached in what is essentially a mulled wine mixture to which I also add honey, orange juice, and vanilla.
- 2 ripe but firm Bartlett pears
- 2 cups dry red wine
- half a cup of honey (amber or medium dark)
- half a cup of orange juice
- 2 long strips orange zest
- half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
- half a teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- optional: half a teaspoon vanilla bean powder, if you have it
- Peel the pears neatly, leaving the stem on. Trim the bottom of the fruit so that each pear can stand up straight and steady.
- Bring all of the other ingredients to a boil in deep saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place pears into the saucepan - if they can stand up, that's great, if not, just lay them on the side and remember to turn them every five minutes or so. Cover pan with lid and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until pears are cooked through, but still hold a firm body. A good test: you should be able to slice them like room temperature butter.
- Take the pan off the heat. Remove pears from the liquid and chill for at least a few hours (or longer) before serving.
- Cook down/reduce the poaching liquid into a syrup by cooking it and stirring occasionally on medium heat for another 20-25 minutes. Remember that the liquid will thicken more as it cools!
- Serve pears cold, drizzled with syrup or with ice cream.
See what I mean? The pears are simple yet decadent. Serve chilled with reduced syrup and/or ice cream.