Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

How to make boring fruit more interesting: poached pears

on May 26, 2011

We bought some pears recently but they weren’t very nice. They were the type that have the texture and taste of cardboard. But I’m not one for throwing things away, even if they do taste of cardboard! So I thought poaching them might help because they absorb lots of juices and flavours and which would helpfully make them more interesting and also less hard and weirdly crunchy.

And I was right. It was absolutely the best thing to do with those pears. They actually tasted delicious. And they went very well with icecream and the florentines I’d just made. But of course, custard or whipped cream would work just as well as would amaretto biscuits or shortbread.

This is actually a super simple dessert and one you can put on when you’ve nearly finished making the main course and it’ll be ready when you’re more or less ready to eat it. If you want to speed up the time, cut the pear into segments and reduce the cooking time. It’s also a fairly healthy dessert (if you don’t serve with icecream and florentines! Try greek yoghurt instead) so it works well for during the week. If you want to be even healthier or want to make it for children you can poach in a fruit juice or water instead of wine. White wine would also work well instead of red but red improves the colour of anaemic fruit.

You can do this with other fruit too such as apples. It will improve the flavour of most fruit and you can also use when your fruit is a bit unripe but you either don’t want to wait or it looks like it’ll go bad before it ripens.

I made it for two, but obviously if you want to make for more, just add more pears and more wine.

I did have a look online for recipes but actually settle for one in my Leith’s recipe book. But I changed the recipe somewhat (by adding wine!) so it’s really my own version.

Poached spiced pears

Serves 2

  • 2 pears, peeled but kept whole
  • 1/2 bottle red wine (you know the stuff you don’t like but someone gave you/you bought because it was cheap)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or use 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • zest & juice of 1 orange
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  1. Put the wine, zests, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Stir well and heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the pears, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cover.
  3. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the pears are soft and have changed colour. Turn the pears regularly to ensure even colouring.
  4. Remove the pears and put in bowls. If necessary, reduce the remaining liquid until you have a saucey consistency. Pour over the pears.
  5. Serve with iceream, custard, yoghurt or cream and some kind of biscuit
  6. Enjoy!

Poached Pears on FoodistaPoached Pears

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