Wine poached pears and the company of good friends. My friends J and V came over one evening and helped me make these pears. Or rather, the sauce for these pears. While V was on the phone the entire time, J helped by stirring the sauce for me. The sauce caramelized (oh, no!) but we had the best time pulling “strands” from the pot and watching it harden in the cold December air. We then proceeded to eat these “strands” and all the wonderful “shapes” we had tried to make in the “air.” My sauce definitely got ruined (and needless to say my New Year’s resolution is going to be to work on reducing my sauces – especially after the orange marmalade disaster. But that is another story). But the hard wine candy was surprisingly good. In fact I even broke it up and kept some away for foodie.
The next thing was to take pictures. Since my camera had gone on a holiday with my parents, V had to get his. We bounced around the house trying to get the perfect props and lighting in place and V was still on the phone. Though I could not get a very good picture, I now kind of have an idea on the best places to photograph in the house. What followed was a veritable feast of poached pears, vanilla ice cream, wine candy and chocolate sauce. This time V got off the phone!
I would suggest that you start with firm pears. The soft ones will not hold their shape and tend to become lumpy. You can water down the wine a little bit if you prefer. If you do so, a good proportion would be a ratio of wine to water – 3: 1. Add any spices that you like. I put in a stick of cinnamon and 3 star anise. I have a feeling that some orange peel will be great too. The amount of time needed for poaching depends on the kind of pears used and whether you have put them in whole or in pieces. A whole pear takes longer to poach and the firm Asian pears (the ones I used) will also take longer. See how you like them – if you like a bit of crunch, then poach for less time than if you like them to be very soft.
If you scared of reductions (like me) then just leave the pears in the liquid. If not, reduce the liquid for 5 – 10 minutes or until it becomes half its quantity. This is your sauce. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Wine Poached Pears
Adapted from David Lebovitz
2 firm Asian pears, peeled
375 ml red wine
125 ml water
130 gms sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 -3 star anise
- Pour the wine and water in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, cinnamon and star anise. Heat this until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the pears and cover the pan so that the vapor does not escape.
- Keep the liquid on a low boil and simmer for around 45 minutes. Flip the pears on their other side at 22 minutes. Check to see if they are cooked.
- Remove from heat and let them cool in their liquid.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.