Poaching, a cooking technique that is approximately ten thousand years old, is used to create many savory and sweet dishes. Three important factors to remember when using this technique are temperature, volume of the liquid, and timing. Foods cooked using this method can either be entirely or partially immersed in the liquid. Poached pear, a perfect fall or winter dessert, is quite simple to make even though it bears an impressive presentation. Bartlett, a common canning type, Bosc or Anjou types are all ideal pear varieties perfect for poaching.
- 2 firm pears with stems
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
- Pinch of lemon zest
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split horizontally
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Peel and core each pear leaving the stems attached. Thinly slice off the bottoms of the pears for a supportable vertical stance. In a small saucepan combine water, wine, sugar, honey, vanilla bean, pinch of lemon zest.
- Over medium heat, stir the mixture until sugar and honey dissolves. Adjust heat to simmer and add pears, stem side up, for about 20 minutes or until pears are tender when pierced.
- Remove pears from saucepan and reduce liquid by boiling until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Remove and discard vanilla bean then pour cooled syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
- To serve, place pear stem side up on a small plate or in a big wine glass. Pour some syrup over the pear, add whipped cream or ice cream, and add a sprinkle of lemon zest to garnish.