There are three good reasons to make these poached pears. The first is the incredible aroma that will fill your house; the second is the ease with which you can prepare them; and the third — and the most important, of course — is that they're a thoroughly delicious dessert that works with nearly every menu throughout the holiday season. Serve the rich, deeply flavorful (and healthful) pears alone, or accompany them with a sliver of chocolate cake or cookies: They'll be as elegant as they are appealing.
The speed and ease with which you can make poached pears, thanks to induction technology and the Bosch Steam Oven, and the fact that the flavor only improves when they are made in advance, makes these a perfect dessert for the busy host. The poaching liquid comes to a boil quickly on the Bosch Induction Cooktop, and cooking the pears in low-temperature steam allows the flavorful liquid to really permeate all the way through the fruit.
Did we say three good reasons? Make that four: As delicious and simple as these pears are, they cut a dramatic dash as the meal's final visual statement.
Pears Poached in Ruby Port With Spices
1 cup granulated sugar
2 (3 x 1) strips fresh orange peels
2 (3 x 1) strips fresh lemon peels
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 firm but ripe Anjou pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
Arrange a rack in the middle of a steam convection oven and heat on the steam setting to 250°F.
Combine the port, sugar, orange peels, lemon peels, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Place the pears in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Pour the port mixture over the pears and turn them over a few times to coat, then arrange the pears so that they are cut-side down. Steam-bake the pears until the flesh is tender and pierces easily with the tines of a fork, 30-35 minutes (depending on how firm your pears are). Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer the pears and cooking liquid to a bowl or container that allows the pears to be fully submerged in the cooking liquid and cover. Refrigerate overnight to allow the color on the pears to deepen.
Remove the pears to a serving dish or plates. Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer into a medium saucepan and discard the solids. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid reduces and is slightly syrupy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon some of the sauce over the pears and serve.
- Long, gentle low-temperature steaming encourages the flavors of the poaching liquid to really permeate the pear.
- If you're using a conventional oven, bake the pears at 375°F for 30 minutes, then flip them over and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes more.
This post is sponsored by Bosch Home Appliances.
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