Jay's Poached Pears

[poached pear]
(click to enlarge)

Make this in about a half-hour (longer if you decide to serve it chilled).  It's beautiful and elegant, fat-free, and extremely delicious. 

Ingredients to Serve 4 People

4 Pears -  Get beautiful, unblemished, large, ripe pears but not too ripe.  I prefer Bosc pears but other varieties can work well also.  Find pears that still have their stems.  If you are lucky enough to get a leaf or two on the stem, so much the better!

3 cups granulated sugar

5-6 cups cold water

teaspoon salt

2" piece of fresh vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

Peel of one orange, cut into 4-6 pieces

2 whole cloves (plus 4 more for garnish)

Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, preserving their rounded shapes.  Don't remove the stems.  Meanwhile add the sugar, water, and salt to a 3 qt. saucepan and begin to heat on high.  When the pears are peeled, rinse them and carefully place in the simmering syrup.  Make sure they're covered, add more water and sugar in a 2:1 ratio if necessary.   Add 1 or 2 cloves, the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and the orange peels.  Boil gently for about a half hour, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent boil-over.  Remove the cinnamon stick after about 15 minutes so it doesn't overpower the other flavors.  Be careful, the syrup is very hot! 

Carefully remove each pear (I use two tablespoons) and place in a shallow dessert bowl.  Put about 1/3 cup of additional syrup in each bowl.  Garnish with a whole clove, some of the orange peel (which is now candied and can be eaten) and perhaps a sprig of mint leaves.  Serve warm (cool at least 10 minutes) or chill (my family prefers it warm).  Save the leftover syrup for next time (or mix drinks with it).

Enjoy!

Posted November 1999

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