Lemon Poached Pears are a big thing with my family. Being a chef, I love cooking healthy but indulgent dishes for my mom and brother.
Last weekend we had a pop-up event at the Tasting Room. There were 5 courses, wine flowed from barrels on the wall, and there was Paella! It was a treat to cook for the guests, returning and new alike, and especially try out this new version of a classic poached pears.
The whole process is very straightforward, takes less than an hour, and you can modulate the flavors as you want. Yay for flexibility! For the pop-up restaurant we served the pears over a St. Jame’s torte (Tarta de Santiago) which is a really citrusy flourless almond cake.
To. Die. For! (I’ll make a future post only on the Tarta Santiago because it really, really, deserves the spotlight)
Poaching a pear is essentially peeling it, coring it, and cooking it in a flavored liquid until it’s tender. Then you let it cool and dress it up like it’s going out to the ball! You’ll need a mellon baller for the coring, you can find one here!
After they are peeled and cored. (I really should make a youtube demo), make the poaching liquid.
I used Star Anise and a lot of citrus flavors to pair well with the Tarta Santiago ( it has orange zest in the mix), but you can use other flavors as well: cloves, cinnamon sticks, etc. Just make sure to pick one main spice so its not overpowering. The other flavors are auxiliary, second fiddles in an orchestra in your mouth. (yes, I actually wrote that!)
Mix the sugar, spices, and liquid. Good wine goes a long way here. You want something with a strong body, gewurztraminer for white or a pinot pinot grigio, with enough acidity to stand up to the sweetness of the sugar and make a tangy sauce.
Poaching them is easy, just submerge them in the simmering liquid until they are tender and you can pinch them with a fork. I would pinch them underneath, so you wont see fork marks on the body of the pear. If you have the time, leave them overnight in the cooled poaching liquid, they will absorb so much more flavor!
To fan them like you see here, get a sharp paring knife and cut along the body in a curve. Cut halfway into the pear only, if you go too deep its Goodnight Irene for that pear X_X.
At this point they are ready to eat, if you want more embellishment, I sprinkled a mixture of powder sugar and lemon dust on them. If you want to see what lemon dust is all about, leave me a comment! I’ll be happy to make a post on it!
This dessert is great as it is, but serve it with some blue cheese or some other sharp creamy cheese and it becomes an instant winner !
- 4 Pears (Bosc, Anjou, Bartlett etc.)
- 3 Star Anise Cloves
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 4 Cups Wine (Red or White)
- Orange or lemon peel
- 1 Tbsp. Butter
- Peel and Core the Pears
- In a sauce pot add sugar, lemon, wine, and star anise cloves.
- Bring to a simmer until the sugar melts and it becomes a syrup
- Add the pears. They will float, you can weigh them down with a plate
- Pinch with a fork after 30 minutes to test for tenderness.
- Remove from heat and let cool
- Remove the pears and bring the syrup to a boil to thicken. Once thick, add a tablespoon of butter
- Serve with the pears.