Fall is finally here, and along with Apples and Pumpkins, you can now find Pears, Peaches, Plums and Persimmons flooding the grocery aisles. Its funny how most of the Fall fruits start with the letter "P"!! Anyway, this post is all about Pears, the different types, how to choose them, how to cook them, and the best way to Poach Pears, which by itself, is a classic dessert to serve on chilly winter nights! Image courtesy of Woman's Day magazine.
Poaching Pears is a preferred technique to extend the freshness and life of the fruit, so you can use your sweet winter bounty to make sorbets, cakes, ice creams, and jams. Poaching is gentle stove-top cooking, and winter pears are ideal candidates since they keep their shape. I'd recommend choosing Bosc, Bartlett or Conference Pears, because they are hard and fleshy, and the longer the pears sit in the flavorful syrup after poaching, the better they’ll taste. You can customize the poaching liquid to suit your taste, adding various spices, fresh ginger, vanilla beans, or wine to the mix.
How To Poach Pears Ingredients
4 medium ripe, firm pears with stems
4 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp all-spice powder (optional)
2 tbsp wine (optional)
Combine the sugar, water, wine, all-spice mix and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat and cook briefly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Peel the pears, removing the skin, but leaving the stem intact. Using a melon-baller, scoop out the core of the pear from the bottom. Place the pears in the poaching liquid and return them to the heat.
A neat trick to speed up the Poaching process is to cut a circle of parchment paper just a little smaller than the diameter of the saucepan and place it on top of the pears. Covering the pears with a paper like this prevents discoloring of the fruit, at the same time it keeps them submerged entirely so that they cook well.
Now bring the pears to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Poach the pears until tender, about 30 minutes. A toothpick should easily slide through the pear. When they are fully poached, cool them to room temperature in the same liquid.
Once cool, remove the pears and proceed with your recipe. If you are not using them immediately, then transfer the pears along with their poaching liquid into another container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Poached pears will keep well for 1-2 days in the fridge.
Now you have it, a complete tutorial on How to Poach Pears, so that you can enjoy the taste of Pears throughout the season. To enjoy this as a light and refreshing dessert, serve them with a side of Chocolate Sauce, or Ice Cream, or you could stuff them with some Mascarpone cream and serve it with some fresh fruits and whipped cream. I will leave you to choose what way you want to enjoy them, but here are a few recipes that might give you inspiration!
Pear Walnut & Cranberry Bread
Easy Pear Mojito
Low-Fat Pear Snack Cake
How to Cook Butternut Squash
How To Peel Pomegranate in Less Than a Minute
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