Recipe: Pears Poached in Ruby Port with Spices
- 3 cups
ruby port wine
- 1 cup
(3 x 1) strips fresh orange peels
(3 x 1) strips fresh lemon peels
whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon
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.