Poached pears have always scared me a bit. I remember my mum having a recipe book when I was a kid and telling me how generally disgusting they were and how they were second only to a pile of veruccas on the list of things you generally wouldn't want to put in your mouth. (I'm paraphrasing here, but that's the general gist of her anti-pear sentiments.)
So, for a good few years after that - alright, a good couple of decades - I generally ignored the poached pear. But eventually it wore down my resistance, and I gave in and started eating them.
But I didn't get round to making them til this week, when I went out and bought a huge truckload of pears just for the purpose of poaching the life out of them. I used a bottle of dessert wine, some water, a point of star anise, cloves, a little cinnamon stick, some clementine zest, and some sugar. (And some pears, of course!)
You boil it all up for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for a while. Here's what you get at the end:
And yes, like all of my food fear experiments, I really liked it. Even though the idea of cooking off the alcohol in my wine goes against everything I believe in, the end result was pretty much worth it. (And I topped up the booze content by adding a load of the clemencello I made a couple of months back.)
I'll be cooking up poached pears again, only next time, I'll be making sure there's a huge load of ice cream to go with it.