Care for a pear? This was my very first time having poached pears, and I am officially in love. It has quickly become my new favorite dessert - light, sweet, and absolutely perfect for spring. With beautifully ripe pears showing up in every produce market, I was on the hunt for a new recipe. And this one was excellente!
I know even the thought of a poached pear can be so... how do you say, fancy schmancy. But trust me, this is one of the easiest recipes - you're really just simmering the pears in a mixture for a few minutes.
I used a simple recipe that incorporated a fresh vanilla bean, then plopped a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side. Friggin-UH-MAZING. Who doesn't love that heavenly warm/cold combination in a dessert? My next time making I'm going to try adding ginger, star anise and cinnamon. Drooooooool.
Original recipe is from Chow. Make sure to choose pears that are ripe and ready to eat (I had a couple that weren't ripe yet and they didn't turn out as good as the others). Here's how you can tell if a pear is ripe: check the neck! A ripe pear will give and be softer at the neck (around the stem area) once it's ready. If you're using Bartlett pears, those will actually go from green to yellow when ripe.
- 4 Bosc, Anjou or Bartlett pears (make sure they are ripe)
- 5 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 (1-by-3-inch) strips lemon zest (outer lemon peel)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and inside scraped (use both seeds and pod)
- vanilla bean ice cream (or your ice cream of choice)
1. Wash and peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Slice off the bottom 1/8 inch of each pear to create a base for the pear to stand upright.
2. Combine water, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla bean (seeds and pod) in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Reduce heat so the mixture is at a bare simmer. Add the pears, laying them on their sides so they are almost completely submerged. Cook, turning the pears occasionally so they become saturated on all sides, until they are tender when pierced with a fork (roughly 7 minutes).
4. Allow the pears to cool completely in the poaching liquid. Serve immediately, placed upright on the plate with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Have fun and share your pears!