Posted by: A Part of the Solution | January 4, 2013

Poached Pears Deluxe

Poached Pears are a simple preparation. Poached Pears are a reliable cold weather standard. Poached Pears satisfy everyone, except those persons who unaccountably don’t like their texture.

Clearly, I’m a fan of pears and Poached Pears alike. My boss and I developed this Poached Pear recipe years ago. It was based on some foolishness calling for the pears to be poached in apple juice. Really? I couldn’t make any sense of that. Apples are apples. Pears are pears. They are not interchangeable. Who eats poached apples?

This Poached Pear recipe is a great make-ahead for the harried host/ess. And Poached Pears are seasonal through the winter, when it’s hard to serve any kind of fruit which isn’t tropical or apples–or dried. Not that there’s anything wrong with those alternatives, but everyone likes a change.

Oh, and Poached Pears are fat free, gluten free and vegan. Made this way, even the paleo diet crowd can eat them.

Poached Pears

4 pears, under-ripe (still very firm to the touch), I like Red Anjou or Comice here, cause the finished color is extra appealing, but use what you can find, peeled but stems intact if possible

3 1/2 to 4 cups organic pear juice–look for a  beverage which is actually made from pear juice and not so much from apple juice flavored with pear puree/concentrate/essence or what have you

1/2 vanilla bean, split

1 pinch of salt

a shot of Poire Guillaume (optional, but very nice)

a few drops of fresh lemon juice (again, optional)

In a 2 1/2 quart to 3 quart pan (for 4 pears, if you’re multiplying up you’ll need more room) set the pears with their fat ends down. They should be very close together, though not actually squeezed. This is true regardless of the number of pears, or the volume of the pan.

Add the vanilla bean and the pear juice. The pears should be covered with liquid, or nearly. If not, try tipping them slightly, so their narrow ends are lowered into the liquid. If there’s still a little pear peeking out over the waterline, don’t worry. Put a cover on the pan.

Bring the pears to a simmer over medium high heat then lower the temperature to a seethe (where the liquid moves beneath the surface but never actually bubbles). If the poaching liquid doesn’t fully cover the pears, rotate them about once every five minutes. They’ll be done in about 25 minutes. Remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them in a deep storage dish.

Add the pinch of salt to the poaching liquid. Bring the poaching liquid to a rolling boil and reduce it to 1/3 it’s volume. Add the Poire Guillame now (if using). You’ll have less than a cup. Allow this thick, caramel syrup to cool slightly. Give it a tiny taste. If it’s too sweet, which it won’t be if you’re using the Poire Guillaume, you’ll want to dose it with a short squeeze of lemon juice.

Spoon the syrup over the pears. Store them covered in the fridge. A couple hours before service, take them out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature. Make sure everyone gets plenty of syrup with their smooth, glossy pear. You may add a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or full-fat Greek yogurt  for fun–but you definitely don’t have to.

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