Did you know it’s December 22? I didn’t, or at least I didn’t until I looked at our computer calendar, squealed a bit and realized that later this afternoon better be dedicated to finishing off that shopping we haven’t started yet (yeah, it’s bad). To try and save face a little, we thought sharing these poached pears would be a good idea. Have you ever made a red wine sangria or mulled wine? Well, the poaching liquid is practically the same. In fact, once our pears were poached, we added a touch of brandy to the poaching liquid and drank it as a mulled wine.
You’re going to need a bottle of red wine. It doesn’t have to be the best stuff, just make sure it is something you would be happy drinking. Choose a drier wine, too. Something simple like a Merlot would work well. Poaching the pears takes about 30 minutes, but the best part? You can make the pears 2 days in advance, once the pears are tender, turn off the heat then cool the liquid & the pears. Transfer the pears to a container and cover with the cooled poaching liquid. Then, reheat just before serving.
We made these for maché magazine and between the two of us, we finished all 6 servings. Half were finished for dessert and the other half was for breakfast the next morning!
- 1 lemon, sliced and added to a large bowl of water
- 3 firm pears (such as Bosc or Bartlett), peeled, halved and cored
- 1 cup water
- 1 (750ml) bottle dry red wine (Merlot works well)
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1/2 cup honey (add more to taste)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 1 vanilla bean, halved with seeds scraped out
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Add pear halves to lemon water to prevent browning while you prepare the poaching liquid.
- Add bottle of wine and 1 cup of water to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Then, squeeze orange quarters over the wine, releasing their juice. Add quarters of orange along with the honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and the vanilla bean’s seeds and pod; bring to a boil over high and reduce to a simmer. Remove pear halves from the lemon water then submerge into the poaching liquid, cook until tender throughout, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream then cover and place into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve pears with a dollop of whipped cream.