These easy poached pear recipes prove that gently simmered pears are the Cinderellas of the fruit world. Sitting modestly in the produce aisle, raw pears don’t turn heads. But serve them poached, and dinner guests will fawn over their sophisticated elegance. Even if you don’t possess any fairy godmother magic, you have the power to transform pears from drab to fab with as little as a pot and a few key ingredients.
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First, you’re going to need some pears—Bosc, Anjou, and Bartlett are common choices. Be sure that they are still rather firm and not too ripe. Now here’s what to do with them:
How to Poach Pears
1. Peel the pears and cut out the cores via the base of the fruit. Some people also slice a few millimeters off the bottom of the pear, creating a flat surface on which it can stand upright. As for the stem, leave it on in the name of style.
2. Next, it’s time to draw a bath for the pears. It’s common to use either water or wine. Although the thought of pears drinking a bottle of red instead of me makes me cringe, this method does lend the final product a vibrant ruby hue. White wine works too, as does apple cider. Depending on your recipe and preference, you’ll also add a sweetener, vanilla, and spices like cinnamon and clove. You’ll bring this mixture to a boil and then down to a simmer. When you add the pears, the liquid should just cover their tops.
3. Let the pears simmer about 20 minutes in their hot tub. You’ll need to turn them a bit every five minutes or so in order to achieve even cooking and coloring throughout. When you think they’re ready, poke one with a knife or fork. If you meet no resistance, it’s time to pull them out.
4. At this point, you may choose to let the pears and the liquid hang out overnight in the fridge, allowing the fruit to absorb even more flavor. Another option is to strain any solids from the liquid and continue reducing it in a saucepan until it reaches a syrup-like consistency. Then drizzle the reduction over the pears before serving.
Cuisinart MultiClad Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan, $39.99 on Amazon
A roomy saucepan is really all you need for poaching pears.
Although they appear glamorous, poached pears are actually quite easygoing. You can serve them warm or cool with pretty much anything from whipped cream to chocolate to cake and pastries. You can keep them in your fridge for up to five days. And you can even add them into baked goods, either whole or diced.
Poached Pear Recipes
Ready to whip up one of these extreme makeovers in your very own kitchen? Here are a few recipes you can use to write your pear Cinderella story!
Use this recipe to get the classic, deep-red look. Get the Red Wine Poached Pears recipe.
If you’re more likely to have white wine in the house, this one’s for you. Get the Poached Pears with Cardamom recipe.
It’s a truth we’ve known since we started eating solid foods: Everything’s better with chocolate and ice cream. Get the Spiced Poached Pears with Warm Chocolate Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream recipe.
This simple recipe uses tea bags to lend a spicy flavor. Get the Chai Poached Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Cream recipe.
Move over, caramel apples. Get the Vanilla Poached Pears with Simple Salted Butter Caramel Sauce recipe.
Bake poached pears inside a loaf of warm, spicy gingerbread for a whimsical yet comfortingly earthy dessert (or breakfast). These are poached in white wine, but you could use any poached pear recipe you fancy for the filling. Get the Drunken Pear Gingerbread recipe.
You could serve your poached pear next to a pastry…or you could wrap it in strips of puff pastry and bake yourself a pear-in-a-blanket! Get the Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry recipe.
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Here’s another easy way to use poached pears as a baking ingredient: perch them on little tarts with a creamy almond filling and snowdrifts of powdered sugar on top. Get the Poached Pear Tarts recipe.
Golden poached pears form a sort of crown atop this ginger cake that’s also garnished with crushed, chocolate-coated honeycomb and a drizzle of salted caramel. Get the Ginger Cake with Salted Caramel Poached Pears recipe.
Poached pears can even bridge the gap between sweet and savory with this happy holiday party dish. Get the Caramelized Winter Fruit Stuffed Brie with Pinot Poached Pear recipe.
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