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Feel the food fear and do it anyway episode 4: Poached pears

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.

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  1. I think poached pears are great! They make an elegant dessert with a few berries strewn over and a bit of drizzled sauce. Or just as you've shown in your photo. But maybe not the anise if I'm going to be eating them. :)

  2. Poached pears! Yum! I agree, cooking off the alcohol ruins all of the fun. ;) Ooh, a lovely vegan vanilla would be nice.

  3. I've never been one for pears but I was given a few recently. I poached them as slices with some apples, half a cinnamon stick and star anise and then turned it into a crumble. My only regret was not taking a photo as it tasted great and was worthy of a post. I'm sold on them after that!

    BTW - I'm intrigued about where and how long you lived in Australia after one of the comments you left on my post.

  4. So pretty, but I think you're right about the vegan ice cream as a necessary accompaniment. It's amazaing with port or madeira wine. So classy! You even got the garnish going!

  5. haha, not so scary after all! They look delicious and would only be improved served warm with some coconut ice-cream, I'm sure. Very impressive for a dinner party. :-)

  6. Who knew poaching pears would be so simple? The end product looks elegant, especially with the stems still on. The only time I've ever had poached pears was in England at a pub in the Cotswolds for dessert. It was lovely, and I'd be keen to try it at home!


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