This is an easy dish to prepare, but makes a huge impact on the plate. The colour of the pears is so pretty and luscious, and the flavour profile with citrus, spice, and a hint of sweetness, really shines through. You can dice them into cubes to include in a salad, or slice them up as a garnish atop a cake – any way you plate it, you’ll get that WOW factor.
Makes: 4 poached pears
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 4 pears, bosc
- 750 ml / 1 bottle red wine
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 5 cloves
- 2 star anise, whole
- 1 cinnamon stick (6 in / 15 cm, broken in half)
- 6 orange peels
- 1 bay leaf
- 108 g / 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup honey
- 30 g / 2 tbsp Crystal margarine, cold
- Cut a circle out of parchment paper (use a medium saucepan as a guide and if using a pen/pencil, cut inside the lines to eliminate the pen/pencil contaminating the wine).Set aside.
- In the medium saucepan over medium heat, add wine, scraped vanilla bean (seeds and pod), cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, orange peel, bay leaf, honey, and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, peel pears using a vegetable peeler. Make sure to peel them using long, even, continuous strokes from the stem to the base, as this will affect how they look once poached. Pears may be sliced in half and cored, for faster poaching time.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, add pears to the wine. Place parchment directly on top of the pears, gently pressing down. (Ensure pears are submerged in wine while simmering. Failing to do so will result in uneven colouring. Gently rolling pears over halfway through, spooning wine over the pears as they simmer may help, as will the parchment round on top of the pears.)
- Bring wine to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer pears for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into pears meets little to no resistance. Take off heat. Let pears cool in wine, about 30 minutes. Once cooled, take pears out, set aside in fridge. Strain wine. Pour wine back into saucepan.
- Place saucepan back onto heat. Bring to a boil. Simmer wine, over medium-low heat, until reduced. It will develop into a thick syrupy sauce, about 15 minutes. Take off heat. With a whisk, gradually whisk in cold Crystal margarine into the hot wine, a teaspoon at a time. The sauce should become glossy and thick. The final reduction, including the margarine, will be just under 1 cup.
- Spoon warm sauce over chilled pears.
- Serve with or without coconut ice cream.
- White wine can be substituted for the red. For the flavour profile of the white wine to come through, omit cloves and star anise. You may also substitute lemon peel for the orange.