fruits of the summer – mangoes and berries – have been replaced by apples, peaches and pears. Pears are the least expensive fruit at the moment so I buy a lot of them. What do you do with a kitchen full of pears, you ask? Try poaching them.
For some, poached pears may conjure up bad memories of old-fashioned desserts - overcooked and mushy fruits drowning in far too much sugary syrup. But don’t be fooled: poached fruit can be a light alternative to heavy and creamy desserts and it can be a beautiful dish to impress friends with at dinner parties.
To add richness to an otherwise cheap dessert, use a delicious, dark red wine (a wine you would drink) and fresh, strongly scented spices like star anise, vanilla bean and whole green cardamom.
When in season pears are already very sweet so I just add some honey to bring out their flavour, which also gives the perfect stickiness factor to enrich the dark red winey syrup.
honey and wine spiced pears
4 firm pears (use any type but I used Bartlett)
full bodied red wine* – use enough to cover pears (1/2 bottle or more)
1 tbsp organic honey
2 green cardamom pods – crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean – scraped
1 star anise
Peel pears and place into small pot. Cover pears with red wine (dilute with water if desired), add honey and spices. Place pot onto medium heat and simmer pears until just soft or a knife inserts easily into flesh. Once cooked, keep poaching liquid in pot, remove pears and keep aside. Reduce poaching liquid until thick and syrupy (make sure to watch as it can burn). Plate pears and pour a little syrup on top. I served these alone but you could also serve with gelato/ice cream and/or biscuits. Enjoy.
*if using all wine is too strong for your taste, add some water to dilute