Junie D says she’d always intended to make poached pears, but never got around to it until recently. And then: “ECSTASY. Really. I just never knew…or imagined…I ate three of the four and drank the syrup and licked the bowls.” She adapted Patricia Wells’s recipe in Bistro Cooking:

4 bosc pears, peeled

1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 bottle pretty good, dry red wine
1/2 cup cassis liqueur
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer. If the liquid doesn’t totally cover the pears, turn the pears while cooking. Cook about 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

280 Ninth makes what he calls “racy” poached pears with candied celery (which he says has a sweet-sour flavor and a pleasant crunch):

2 lemons

4 cups cold water

1 cup Moscato (or white wine)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup apricot jam

4 Bosc pears

8 celery ribs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375F, with rack in middle. Remove zest from lemons, cover with 2 cups water, boil, drain and rinse. Repeat once more. Pat zest dry. Squeeze 1/3 cup lemon into bowl, whisk in wine, sugar, and jam until sugar is dissolved. Halve and core pears lengthwise. Spread out celery in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour in wine mixture. Place pears in dish, cut side up. Spread zest around them. Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, basting once or twice, until pears are tender. Remove pears and pour liquid, zest, and celery into pan and reduce until syrupy, about 15 minutes. Serve, cooled, with sauce spooned over pears.

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Poached Pear Epiphany

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