It’s strange because I never eat that many pears in the fall. I really love them, but they’re only good for so long and apples last much longer which works better with my current lifestyle. And also apples go great with peanut butter which, again, works well with my current lifestyle. But nothing beats a pear so plump and luscious that you slurp the juices with every bite, although plenty run down your chin instead of making their way into your mouth.
Last week I decided to make poached pears for a team dinner with some people from my work. I’m going to just secretly admit that I really wanted to eat pears and didn’t care too much what everyone else wanted for dessert… sorry chocolate lovers. Also, I took the chance to get eight pears rather than the require six because an extra pear or two never hurt if they’re expense-able. Of course, I saved the extra pears for myself to enjoy at my leisure. Or more immediately once they became ripe.
The poached pears themselves turned out pretty good. I think they could use some improvement. A drier wine would have been better with them as they turned out a little sweet. Possibly just less sugar. More spices in my opinion. Stronger orange flavor. But all these critiques aren’t to say they were bad- they were good. Very good. But if you’re going to make them, feel free to play around with the proportions a bit. I will say they are great with crème fraîche.
Let me know if you do end up making them and leave me a comment about how they worked for you! I promise, they are very easy and there aren’t too many things you need to buy to make em.
Adapted from The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle
6 cardamom pods
One 1 1/2 inch peace of fresh ginger
Two 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 inch long strips of tangerine peel
One bottle dry Muscat wine
6 almost perfectly ripe but just under Bartlett pears
Crack the cardamom pods open with a sauté pan or the back of a spoon. Peel the ginger and cut it into quarter inch thick rounds. Remove two strips of tangerine peel. Place all the aromatics/ spices in a medium saucepan along with the sugar and the wine. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Peel the pears, leaving the stems. Carefully place the pears in the boiling syrup. Put a small heatproof pan over the pears to weigh them down so that they are all fully immersed in the syrup. Turn the heat down and simmer the pears until a pairing (or pearing!) knife meets no resistance in them, about 30 minutes. Cool the pears in their syrup.
The pears can be stored in their syrup for up to one week. When ready to serve, strain the syrup and reduce it to serve alongside the pears. The pears go well with crème fraîche.