Fresh Pears

Apples get an unfair amount of attention during the fall, but pears want to be covered in caramel, too!

Pears are kind of the dark-horse of the fall produce scene. Some people don’t like their mealy texture, and we’ve probably all bitten into way more bad pears than bad apples. They need to be just right to be worth eating.

Unless! Yes, there’s a but here, because even a mediocre pear can be transformed into something glorious and not at all boring, no matter what your preconceived notion on the matter may be.

Poached pears are the simplest dessert you can make that also happens to be vegan (with the right ingredients), gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and inexpensive to boot. The process is simple–simply lower peeled pears (whole or halved, depending on how you want to serve them) into a simmering syrup of flavorful liquids, like wine, spices, fruit juice, or even herbs. It really is that easy!

You can serve poached pears just as they are or topped with whipped cream or ice cream, but they’re also super versatile as an ingredient, like:
- Thinly sliced and layered in a baked tart shell
- Chopped and mixed into scone dough
- Puréed to fill puff pastry for turnovers or Danish
- Diced and served with yogurt and granola for brunch
- Chopped and folded into chicken salad
- Grilled and served alongside pork chops
- Layered in a grilled cheese sandwich
- Minced with their poaching liquid to top raw oysters

And don’t forget the poaching liquid. You can flavor it however you like, including with cardamom, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, lemongrass, vanilla beans, or even black peppercorns.

Reserve the poaching liquid to serve alongside the pears, to flavor cocktails or iced tea, or to freeze as popsicles or granita. You can even simmer it in a pan until it’s reduced and thickened, then use it to glaze a bundt cake or turnovers (like the ones you may have filled with poached pears!!).

Poaching isn’t reserved for pears. It’s a great technique for any firm fruit, like apples, pineapple, or even apricots. The key is to find fruits that are ripe, but still firm enough to hold up to the cooking process. Choose flavoring ingredients that are complimentary to the fruit and adjust the amount of sugar to account for a sweeter fruit.

This simple poached pear recipe is a knock-out for any occasion, but it is also the perfect make-ahead recipe to have ready for unexpected holiday company. Cool the cooked pears and poaching liquid, then refrigerate them together in a covered container, keeping the pears submerged.

Leave a Comment