Poached Pears
Makes four servings
I’ve offered a few variations at the end of the recipe. You can also poach the pears in halves (cored) or whole. Note that the poaching time will be longer if the pears are in larger pieces than quarters. The best way to test if the pears are done is by poking one with a paring knife; if it meets no resistance, it’s done. You can serve these pears alongside a favorite cake, like the chocolate pain d’épices, below, from The Sweet Life in Paris, or even a slice of regular Pain d’épices. Of course, they go very well with gingerbread, and I’ve even swapped them out for the quinces in Quince tarte Tatin.
1 quart water 1l
1 1/3 cup sugar 265 g
4 Bosc pears; peeled, cored, and quartered
Additions: One cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons whole cloves, black peppercorns or allspice berries, one lemon half, one split vanilla bean, 2-3 star anise, 6-8 fresh ginger slices
1. In a large saucepan, heat the water and sugar until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add any of the additions that you wish.
2. Slide in the pears and cover with a round of parchment paper, with a small hole cut in the center.
3. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears.
4. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.

Optional: After poaching the pears, while the liquid is still warm, add approximately 1/2 cup (120 g) dried sour cherries, cranberries, raisins, or dried currants and let them plump.


Serve the pears warm or at room temperature. Accompany with perhaps a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and some dark chocolate sauce, a spoonful of crème fraîche, Milk chocolate & black pepper ice cream, fresh raspberries, or alongside a wedge of spice cake or gingerbread.


Store the pears in their liquid in the refrigerator, in a covered container, until ready to use. Remove the pears from the refrigerator a few hours prior to serving, and re-warm them gently in the liquid, if you wish. The pears will keep for up to 5 days.


In place of the water, you can add 2 cups (500 ml) water and 2 cups (500 ml) white wine (sweet or dry) or sparkling cider, or 3 cups (750 ml) red wine and 1 cup (250 ml) water In place of the sugar, you can use 1 cup (320 g) honey or 1 1/4 cups (275 g) dark, unrefined sugar, such as turbinado or cassonade.