vanilla and cinnamon poached pears

Vanilla & Cinnamon Poached Pears by Bent Street Kitchen

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.

Serves 4-6.

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Preparing Bent Street Kitchen's Vanilla & Cinnamon Poached Pears

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white chocolate rocky road

White Chocolate Rocky Road by Bent Street Kitchen

I think it was around Easter and I remember arriving at my work desk to find a small block of white rocky road wrapped in clear cellophane with a dainty ribbon wrapped around it. My work friend Tracy had made some for everyone. I tended to get to work early and remember chuckling to myself as I heard one gleeful sound after another as each person found the little present waiting for them.

I was never a big fan of rocky road until I bit into Tracy's version. I think the rose water did it for me. I didn't get around to getting her recipe so I tried to create my own by tweaking a recipe I found on I just love the rich colours of the pistachios and cranberries against the snowy white chocolate. 

I've given these as gifts or served them with the coffee after dinner.


300 g white chocolate, chopped

1/2 c dried cranberries

1-2 t rose water or just enough to soak the cranberries

1/3 c pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

100 g white marshmallows


Grease an 8 x 26 cm bar pan. Line with baking paper with a 2 cm overhang. 

Toss cranberries in rosewater for 20 minutes then drain any excess liquid.

Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl and heat in microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, uncovered. Stir every 30 seconds or until melted and smooth.

Put cranberries, marshmallows and pistachios in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add melted chocolate. Stir until combined. Transfer and press into pan. Refrigerate, covered with paper overhang, for 2 hours or until set. Cut into into desired size.

Serves 6-8.

Note: To toast the pistachios, preheat oven to 175 °C. Place pistachios on a cookie sheet and distribute evenly. Bake for 6-8 minutes. They will become fragrant when they are done. Watch them like a hawk because they can burn easily. Allow to cool.

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