There is something exquisitely luxurious about a poached pear. The beautiful dark red wine soaked fruit surrounded by a rich, spice infused syrupy liquid. An added bonus is that they make the house smell amazing when you're cooking them.
There's really nothing to poaching a pear, just good ingredients and checking that you don't over cook them. It's that easy. Some of my children like these (you can never please them all at once) and don't worry about the alcohol, it all cooks off in the process, they're not going to end up tiddly after consuming these.
A couple of years ago we were lucky enough to stay in a truly gorgeous hotel in London and every morning for breakfast they served poached pears, they were sublime. This is my homage to them.
You will need:
1 bottle of fruity red wine
2 tablespoons of sugar
Zest of an orange and a lemon
4 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 medium sized Bosc pears, peeled with the stem left in place.
In a fairly heavy duty saucepan add all the wine, sugar, citrus zest, cloves, cinnamon stick and bring to the boil.
Split the vanilla pod down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add to the saucepan.
When the liquid has reached a boil add the pears, reduce to a simmer and cover.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes depending on how ripe the fruit is, until cooked through but not mushy.
Check every ten minutes or so and turn the fruit so they infuse the beautiful color from the wine.
When cooked remove to a plate. Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil and reduce until you have a rich syrup.
Stand the pears up, sieve the liquid to catch the zest and cloves and then pour the syrup over the pears.
These are wonderful served on their own, with cream, ice-cream or with yogurt for breakfast.