(Or how to use up half a bottle of port you are highly unlikely to drink)
Poached Pears are a dish I’ve been meaning to make for a long time now.
A rare foray into dessert making as I generally tend to pay so much attention to the main meal that I forget about dessert entirely. Either that, or after consuming a massive portion of pasta/meat/potato etc, I have neither the desire nor the physical capacity to fit anything else into my already considerably growing girth :|
So this was a bit of a novelty and happened to turn out quite nicely. I searched the web for a recipe that both sounded nice and contained most of my available ingredients, didn’t find one, and ended up once again combining a bunch of them together into something that looked about right.
So two whole pears, peeled, and with the cores removed. I left the sticks on to make it easier to move them around while they were poaching, and because they looked kinda cute like that. Now to a poaching pan (or a regular pan/pot if you are unlucky enough not to have one solely dedicated to poaching), add half a bottle (roughly 250 ml or so) of port, a vanilla bean pod, a little lemon zest, and one clove.
Get it simmering away on a mild heat (so it’s not bubbling and boiling furiously), and drop in the pears. Let them simmer away for about 10 – 15 minutes, depending how quickly they are cooking, and how soft they were to start with. Turning every now and them to make sure the port poaching liquid is persistently pervading all possible parts of the pear (beat that Peter Piper).
Once the pears are almost done to your desired level of softness (which you can easily test by poking them with a fork), take them out… halve them, and then put them back into the poaching liquid for a minute or so to get the inside nicely coloured.
Then out of the pan and onto a plate. Turn the heat up in the pan and start reducing the port til it turns into a nice thick syrupy sauce. Serve the pears with a scoop (or two) of icecream of your choice, perhaps a few slivered almonds, and the port reduction drizzled haphazardly (in my case) over the top.
There you go… instant class with little to no effort at all.