Poached Pears – How Grown-Up of Me

We had some dear friends over for dinner while dog sitting (looking after one of the dear labradors for whom this blog is named) and so feeling grown-up by parenting (a dog) in a house (not a unit) I thought we would serve a grown-up dinner and dessert. Usually I don’t feel like a grown-up. I have way too much fun to be grown up… and I still like cartoons. So acting like an adult is unusual.

For dinner we had a rich beef rendang with nasi lemak (recipe forthcoming) so I needed a lighter dessert after a rich and sumptuous dinner. So a fruit based dessert seemed like a good idea to round out a lovely evening of food and friends.

Plus, mulled wine is one of my favourite things, so what could be more delicious than healthy fruit in what is essentially mulled wine. Mmmm wintery.

One of the great things about poached pears is how easy they are so they suit a dinner party when you don’t want to fuss by the end of the night, and they can be prepared some hours in advance which advantageously lets the pears absorb more of the flavours.

So grown-up and elegant!

Pears Poached in Spiced Red Wine
serves 6, 15 minutes preparation, 30 minutes to an hour poaching, 15 minutes reducing the sauce

6 firm pears, peeled – the ripeness of your pears will affect your cooking time, but too ripe and they’ll fall to pieces
350 mls red wine
150 mls apple juice
1/4 cup of sugar
4 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
3 strips of orange peel
icecream and orange wedges to serve

Peel your pears. To be nice to your guests, it is recommended that you cut a cone shape out of the base to half core the pears, removing the seeds. This will make eating the pears at a dinner party a much more dainty affair.

Mix your sugar, spices, orange peel, wine and juice in a saucepan that is big enough to fit all your pears in snuggly. Heat the mix, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Clearly my saucepan was not big enough for 6 pears, but we only had two guests so it was ok. Place your pears into the wine and add water to your pot until the pears are just covered.

Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until tender and a skewer is easily inserted. Occasionally turn and baste the pears to ensure an even colour.

Once the pears are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and increase the heat to reduce the wine mix to about a third of its volume.

Serve with icecream or double cream, some of the spice wine syrup (strained of the spices) and with a couple of orange wedges for flare.

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