Poached pears are simply amazing! If simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, this dessert might be the quintessence of this idea. Ripe pears, brown sugar, wine. Maybe a vanilla bean, a cinnamon stick and a star anise. This simple ingredients, combined together, create a mouth-watering, exquisite and stunning dessert.
Poached pears are so versatile. They can be paired with a cheese platter and nuts, creating the perfect way to end any sophisticated menu. They can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and they make a refreshing dessert ideal on a hot summer evening. I chose this time to serve them in a wine and brown sugar reduction and I paired them with a flavorful orange blossom mascarpone cream. Regarding poached pears, the possibilities are endless!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 4 large pears, or 5 medium pears ( I used William pears)
- 1 cup caster brown Demerara sugar – 200g
- 2 cups semi dry red wine – 480ml
- 2 cups water – 480 ml
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod
- 115g mascarpone cheese (8 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp orange blossom water
- Whenever I’m making poached pears, I’m using the following scheme: for every pear I use ¼ cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of wine and 1/2 cup of water.
- In a large saucepan combine the wine with water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a knife or a spoon. Add the vanilla seeds and the seeded vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and star anise.
- Meanwhile prepare the pears. Cut about 2 cm off from the bottom of the pears (to give them stability while plated). Peel them carefully using a vegetable peeler and leave the stem intact. You can also scoop out the seeds using a noisette (exactly like I did in this recipe), but I personally skip this part.
- When the poaching liquid begins to simmer, reduce the heat to minimum, place the pears in the saucepan and cover them with a parchment paper lid (cut out a parchment paper circle slightly larger than the saucepan’s circumference and cut out a small orifice in its center).
- Poach the pears for 20 – 30 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a knife (the time depends on their ripeness). Make sure you turn them every 5 minutes.
- Let them cool down in the poaching liquid for at least 1 hour (you can keep them refrigerated in the poaching liquid for 1 – 2 days).
- Place the pears on a platter, simmer the poaching liquid over medium-high heat for 30 – 40 minutes, or until reduced by half to sticky glaze.
- Meanwhile prepare the mascarpone cream by combining the mascarpone cheese with honey and orange blossom water.
- Place the pears on plates and top them with 2-3 Tbsp of wine reduction (use the remaining reduction for ice cream, choux a la crème or brownies). Spoon 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, sprinkle some cocoa powder and garnish with fresh blueberries.