Poached pears take no time to prepare and are a versatile winter warmer comfort food.
Serve them any way you want, double cream, Ice-cream, chocolate sauce, in its own juices or have them with french crepes flambeed with Poire William Eau de Vie. Most recipes will use all sorts of syrups to make the pears even sweeter, I have chosen a lite option, without relinquishing any taste.
Poached Pears are ideal for those who like to prepare ahead. After all, the longer the pears sit in the flavourful syrup after poaching, the better they’ll taste.
Who connected us?! This recipe is from my Grandmother. Poached pears in The Netherlands are traditionally made from cooking pears. Pears like Gieser Wildeman are great for cooking. The Gieser Wildeman is firm and will turn pinkish-red after cooking.
- 1 or 2 pears per person. I used D’Anjou pears because these pears were available from the fruit vendor at the weekly farmers market where I do my shopping. It is a firm pear with red skin.
- Star anis whole, 1 per pear
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
Optional: red wine, sugar, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon peel.
- Peel the pears, leave the stalks on. You can cut the pears in quarters and core them. I choose to leave the pears whole with stalks on, for the wow factor.
- Put the pears in a thick based saucepan and partly cover with water (about 2/3).
- Add the cinnamon sticks and star anise and bring to the boil.
- Cover with a lid and reduce the heat. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Transfer the pears to a plate or bowl.
- Return syrup to medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by one-third. Even without adding sugar this syrup has a beautiful sweet taste.
- Serve pears anyway you like, warm with ice cream, chocolate sauce or just in its own syrup.
The sweeter version; I prefer to cook the pears without any added sugar. But if you are a sweet-tooth you can add some sugar (about half a tablespoon per pear). Add some sugar to the water before the cooking, this will add sweetness to the pears. Or add sugar to taste to the syrup after you have removed the pears to just sweeten the syrup.
Red wine; for added taste and color you can add some red wine to the pears ad the beginning of the cooking process.
Other ingredients; Poached Pears is the perfect example of a recipe that you can change to your own taste. Add Cloves, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Vanilla or lemon peel to change your recipe.
Ripe/juicy pears; if you use pears that are ripe and juicy, you can reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes. However, the whole idea about this recipe is that you use a hard type of pear that can be cooked for a long time to absorb the beautiful flavors of your choosing.
Ice Cream: Why not, ice cream goes with everything, right!