A good, ripe pear is definitely one of my favorite fruits. Juicy, creamy, and such great flavor. It seems to me that when fall rolls around, everyone becomes obsessed with apples and pumpkin. But in my opinion, pears should be the star of the season!! Pears are perfect as a snack, in breakfasts, desserts, or even savory dishes like salads. Fresh pear season is underway and all 10 varieties of USA Pears are being harvested now!
Determining if a pear is ripe is easy: apply gentle pressure to the narrow “neck” of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe! While most people prefer pears perfectly ripe, there are an abundance of uses for crisp and under-ripe pears. They are especially ideal for poaching.
Even though I love pears, I had never made poached pears before. Poached pears seem like such a fancy, elegant dessert… they must surely be difficult to make! But when I was given the opportunity to come up with a unique poached pear recipe, I decided to rise to the challenge. And guess what? It turns out that poaching pears is pretty simple and foolproof!
Poaching a pear is simple, but looks and tastes so special. The grandfather of poached pear liquids is the traditional wine and sugar mixture, but today’s poached pear recipes run the spectrum of flavors and uses. You can infuse creativity in your poached pear by experimenting with tea, bourbon, coconut milk, beer, coffee, or a myriad of other poaching liquids. The possibilities are endless!
Ever since Nick got his bees, I’ve been using honey in place of sugar 95% of the time. So honey was a no-brainer for the poaching liquid! I paired it with a dry white wine for some contrast and vanilla bean for some intense flavor. When I went shopping for pears, I saw that the Bosc pears were advertised as “crisp, spicy and honey sweet.”
Since I was going for the honey flavor, they sounded perfect!
Poaching the pears was seriously SO simple. If you can boil water, you can poach pears! Once you choose your poaching liquid, you bring it to a boil. Add your pears, reduce the heat and simmer the pears until tender… which only takes 15 or 20 minutes.
Once the pears are tender, you can go a step further to make a delicious sauce. Remove the pears from the liquid and continue boiling it down until it’s thick and syrupy. Then pour it over the pears and let the flavors soak into the fruit while they cool in the fridge.
For me, pear and almond flavors are a match made in heaven. Must be all the French pear and frangipane tarts I have eaten in my lifetime! Amaretto whipped cream was the perfect complement to the sweet pears. It had a subtle but perfect almond flavor. Crunchy candied cinnamon almonds on top gave the dessert a little texture and brought out the spiciness of the Boscs.
I served these pears to friends and they were so impressed. They told me it was like something they would order in a restaurant… mission accomplished! Little did they know how easy it was.
Poaching pears is my new favorite thing and I can’t wait to try it again. I think poached pears would be awesome on a salad with blue cheese and crunchy nuts, or on top of my breakfast oatmeal. They are so versatile!
- 3 Bosc pears
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ⅔ cup honey
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp amaretto liquor
- 2 tbsp water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup almonds
- Peel the pears, halve them, and take the core out (you can use a melon baller or spoon). Squeeze the lemon juice over the pears and toss.
- Combine the water, wine, honey and vanilla (if using a bean, scrape out the seeds and add both the seeds and pod to the liquid) in a medium pot over medium heat. Once everything is mixed together, add the pears.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, until pears are fork tender.
- Transfer the pears to a container, then continue cooking the poaching liquid until syrupy, about 5 more minutes. Let cool slightly, then pour over pears. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Meanwhile, with a stand or hand mixer, beat the whipping cream, sugar and amaretto on high until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a container and refrigerate until needed.
- To make the candied almonds: Bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil in a small pot. Stir in the almonds, then continue cooking and stirring until all of the liquid has evaporated. Pour the almonds out onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Cool completely, then chop.
- To assemble, top pears with whipped cream and chopped candied almonds. (You can leave pear halves whole, or slice them into pretty fans!)
Do you have a favorite pear variety? Have you ever tried poaching pears? Does it intimidate you? It shouldn’t!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.