Poached Pears with Vanilla Caramel Sauce
I usually cook poached pears in a deep skillet, but you can also make them in a large pot. Feel free to customize your poaching liquid with other juices (cranberry will give you pink pears), and add things like fresh ginger peel, different spices or dried fruits. You could skip the sauce (but why would you?), and also serve these pears warm with just a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
- 6 to 8 ripe but firm pears peeled (Bosc recommended, but you can also use firm Bartlett or D’Anjou)
- 4 to 6 cups apple juice
- 4 to 6 cups water
- 1 Orange long, wide strips of peel and juice
- 1 Lemon long, wide strips of peel and juice
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean split
- 1 star anise optional
- Combine juices and water, lemon and orange peel, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean and anise in a deep skillet or sauté pan or pot large enough to hold the liquid and pears. On medium heat, bring liquid mixture just to a boil, lower temperature to simmer. Carefully slip pears into the liquid (adding more liquid if necessary to submerge the fruit) and cover all with a round of parchment paper that fits inside the top of your pan and covers the pears completely.
- Simmer pears 25 to 30 minutes (they will continue to cook a bit off the heat), testing to see if the pears are tender beginning at 20 minutes, using a sharp paring knife. Remove pears from heat, discard parchment and allow pears to cool completely in their cooking liquid. Remove from liquid and pat dry. Serve with caramel sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.
You can cook these pears 1 to 2 days ahead of time and store in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Whole peeled pears (cores intact), make for a more dramatic-looking presentation (and require less cutting), but you can, before cooking, cut the peeled pairs in half lengthwise, scoop out the core and poach them this way, reducing the cooking time to 15 to 20 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!