There is an undeniable beauty in poached pears. It’s an alchemy of flavors, soft pears in treacly sweet syrup with an infusion of spices. The elegance of this dish lies in its simplicity. The quarter-moon of a pear placed in a pool of sticky delicate syrup, to be savored slowly and with relish! Whether it is the classic red wine-poached pears or a lighter sugar/honey poached pears, this is undoubtedly the best way to eat these lovely winter fruits.
There are some added benefits to poaching pears. It’s the perfect way to use the bushels of pears when they are in season. Poaching also enhances the flavor of these fruits, giving them a spice-laden flavor that goes perfectly well with their crunchy-sweet texture.
How to Make Poached Pears?
The first thing to do is to start with the right pears. Soft pears like Bartlett may be delicious, but less suitable for poaching. These are more likely to fall apart while cooking. Anjou pears may work, but the best pears for poaching are Bosc pears. These bronze-skinned pears are firm enough to hold their shape while poaching. They have an elongated neck, which also makes for a pretty presentation.
The other important part is the poaching liquid. You can customize it according to your taste, from the base to the spices. You can use water as we have or red wine. There are different spices that one can use in this recipe. Cinnamon goes very well with pear. But do not hesitate to experiment with sharper flavors like ginger. Even the sugar can be swapped for honey.
Poached Pear Serving Ideas
Poached pears are delicious when served cold or warm with just their syrup. But there are many other ways you can serve this fruit dessert:
- You can serve them with pancakes or waffles. They go excellently with spiced cakes and gingerbread.
- Add a spoonful of crème fraîche and oats for crunch.
- Serve them with a scoop of ice cream, such as vanilla, chocolate, or pain d’épice.
- You can use the pear slices in a fruit salad. Pair them with fresh pears and other fruits of your choice. It also goes well in a peppery rocket salad. Don’t forget to add a bit of the syrup to the salad dressing!
- If you still have some slices knocking about in your fridge, add them to your morning granola for a super-oomphy breakfast!
- You can add dried fruit like cranberry to the syrup. Let them plump up in the liquid and add them when serving. You can also add flaked almonds or walnuts for some nutty crunch.
Poached Pears Recipe
- 4 Bosc pears peeled, cored, & quartered
- 1 ltr water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 5 cloves
- 1 split vanilla pod
- Heat the water in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Add the sugar and any of the spices you are using.
- Slide in the pears and lower the heat.
- The important thing to ensure here is that the pears stay immersed in the liquid. If not, they will discolor. To avoid this, take a parchment paper and cut a circle of the same circumference as the pan. Fold this into half and then in quarters. Snip the corner. Unfold the paper and you will have the paper with the center cut out. The hole in the parchment allows the steam to escape.
- Place the parchment paper over the simmering pears. Let the pears simmer in the liquid until they soften. This should take 15-25 minutes, depending on the firmness of the pear.
- To check for doneness, use a fork to gently pierce the pears. The tines should go through easily.
- Once done, discard the parchment paper and remove the pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon. Take care that they do not break. Place the pears on a plate and keep aside.
- After you remove the pears, it's time to reduce the liquid. Raise the heat to high and let the liquid reduce until it's almost half. It should have a syrupy consistency.
- Strain the syrup to remove the spices. Pour it over the pears and refrigerate.
- Your poached pears are ready. You can serve them with the syrup.
Storage: Store the poached pears in their liquid in your fridge. Take them out a few minutes before serving. You can serve them as they are. But you can also heat them gently with the liquid and serve them warm.
Customizing Poached Pears
This dish is endlessly customizable. As mentioned earlier, you can experiment with almost every ingredient, including the pears. Here are some of our suggestions:
- Use from a bounty of spices, including those mentioned in the recipe. Other spices include peppercorns and allspice.
- You can also swap the sweetening agent, such as using honey or date syrup.
- But the more interesting variations lie in changing the poaching liquid. Alcohol is a common ingredient, particularly red wine. Other options include sweet vermouth, bourbon, and beer.
- Add a spoonful of espresso for some coffee hit.
- Substitute half the liquid with coconut milk for a tropical flavor.
The key factor in experimenting with the poaching liquid is to ensure that the proportion of the liquid remains the same. Tell us about your favorite flavor choices. How do you like your poached pear? If you have tried our recipe, write to us, and share your experience. We would love to hear from you.