At first, I wasn't sure whether to post this recipe or not. It seemed so basic. I ummed and ahhed about it. Yet, it's a recipe I've been doing every year for the last 8 years whenever pears are in season. It's simple but delicious. I suppose this reflects what my cooking is all about. As much as I love eating out at fancy restaurants and sampling the latest cauliflower "foam", chocolate "soil" ice cream, or sous vide meat, when it comes to my cooking I like uncomplicated but delicious food. Food that comforts and makes you feel like you're home.
You can use all sorts of flavouring for these poached pears like cloves, lemons, ginger or even star anise. However, keeping it simple has worked best for me so I've stayed loyal to my cinnamon and vanilla combo.
4 ripe and firm pears, peeled, cored and cut into halves or quarters
1 & 1/2 c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 t vanilla extract
1 litre water
Cut out a circle of baking paper to fit the circumference of the pan you're using. Fold the circle into a triangle and cut the pointy tip, making about a 2 cm hole in the centre of the circle. Prepare all the ingredients.
Heat water and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Slide pears in and cover with round of baking paper. This helps the pears to cook evenly and not discolour. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 mins. The pears are done when you can slide a knife easily into the flesh. Remove from the heat and cool. Store pears in poaching liquid.
You can serve these pears warm or cold with ice cream or plain yoghurt (particularly the creamy kind from Harris Farm). You can also add them to your breakfast oatmeal or bircher muesli.
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