Western Dessert – Ginger Poached Pears

Ginger Poached Pears 001 edited re-sized

Wine poached pears are best as an elegant simple dessert after a ladies’ lunch or as a sweet but light end to a sumptuous dinner. One of my dinner guests who frequently pulls my leg, has teased me about whether it is equivalent to eating canned pears. Please try this recipe and make your own judgement.

In Singapore, even though it is the tropics, there are several types of pears to choose from. All imported of course! My generation is most familiar with Bartlett pears –  I have been warned that these pears when ripe are the juiciest but when cooked they become pear butter. We also get imported Forelle pears, red and green Anjou pears and Bosc pears and these will hold their shape when cooked.

The pears we buy in Singapore tend to be very firm so we regularly sit them on our kitchen counter for at least a week to ripen.  The photo above shows a bowl of several Forelle pears and a couple of Barletts. It is May now and no Bosc pears are in sight in the markets. I find Boscs have a deeper flavour than the other types of pears. Nonetheless, I decided that I shall poach both types as an experiment to see if  Bartlett pears do fall apart much more easily.

Ingredients

Besides the pears, the photo above shows ingredients suggested in a recipe. I felt that it was a waste to use the ice wine for cooking instead of drinking and I had half a bottle of Chardonnay white wine sitting in my fridge waiting for me to do something creative with it. Hence, that was what I used to poach my pears. I was pleased with the result as I am not fond of desserts which are overly sweet.

STEP 1. Peel, core the pears from their bottoms by using a paring knife. Hold the knife at an angle and poke knife into the bottom of each pear, forming a circle. Then, pry the core out. Using the same knife, scrape away whatever core and seeds are left. The pears turned brown very quickly. However, since they will be poached soon, I decided that it was unnecessary to soak them in a bowl of water and a bit of lemon juice.

STEP 2. Boil all ingredients, except the peeled and cored pears, in a heavy bottomed pot till sugar melts. Once the liquid in the pot is boiling, add the prepared pears by laying them on their sides. Bring to boil again. Then, lower heat and simmer the pot covered for about 30 to 40 mins. Turn pears occasionally and test with a sharp point of a skewer. If pears are tender, lift them out of pot. Remove and discard ginger slices.

The Bartlett pears softened more easily and I had to lift them out of the pot about 15 mins earlier as I wanted them whole. In the top photo, you will notice that the 2 poached Bartletts are of a lighter brown colour than the Forelles.

STEP 3.  Continue to boil the poaching liquid in the pot for another 20 mins or so till it is reduced and thickened. This sauce should be served with the pears. Cool and refrigerate till ready to serve.

RECIPE

Ingredients:

8 small firm pears, peeled, levelled and cored.

Add these into a large heavy bottomed pot and bring to boil till sugar melts.

  • 3 Cups or 750 ml water
  • 1 Cup of white wine
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 20 gm peeled and sliced fresh ginger root.

Method:

1. Peel pears but take care to leave the stems intact. Core the pears from the bottom. Make a thin slice at the bottom of the pears so that pears will stand upright and not topple over.

2. Once the liquid in the pot is boiling, add the prepared pears by laying them on their sides. Bring to boil again. Then, lower heat and simmer the pot covered for about 30 to 40 mins. Turn pears occasionally and test with a sharp point of a skewer. If pears are tender, lift them out of pot. Remove and discard ginger slices.

3. Continue to boil the poaching liquid in the pot for another 20 mins or so till it is reduced to about 1 Cup of liquid and it is thickened. This sauce should be served with the pears. Cool and refrigerate till ready to serve.

Serving Suggestion: Place each pear attractively in a deep dish plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle with chopped crystallised ginger and a curl of lemon peel

Variations: Red Wine Poached Pears (For a richer dessert, serve these pears with a level Tbsp of mascarpone cheese each or a scoop of Hazelnut ice-cream )

  • 3 Cups or 750 ml water
  • 1 Cup of red wine
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 60 ml orange juice
  • 2 inch piece of orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick

 

 

 

 

 

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