Poached pears are one my my family’s favorite desserts. They are not too sweet and are very simple to make, but they look and taste super fancy. My kids like them warm straight from the pan, but you can serve them with a little ice cream or custard for a special occasion. I also like them chilled and sliced over a salad with some maple candied nuts and balsamic vinaigrette.
6-8 pears (You do not want them super ripe or they will get mushy. I have used all kinds of pears. D’Anjou, Bartlett or Bosc all work well.)
1-1 1/2 Cups wine (Red or white both work well. I use whatever I had leftover from last night. Apple cider works great too.)
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon star anise pieces (omit if you despise the taste of black licorice.)
5 cardomom pods (optional)
Peel the pears and slice off the bottom stem piece, then slice them lengthwise. Cut out the stem and core. Place flat side down in a large skillet. Pour wine over pears in the skillet and sprinkle the sugar around the pears. Add the spices and cover with a lid. Bring the pears to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling reduce heat to low and let simmer for 25-30 minutes until the pears are tender but not mushy. **Note** if you are using red wine and want the pears to be uniform in color like the picture above, you will want to use a pair of tongs to flip the pears halfway through cooking. You do not need to do this with white wine.
Serve the pears warm with a drizzle of the wine reduction or chill them and serve cold. They are amazing both ways!