A few weeks ago, I found myself watching, in complete suspense, episode after episode of “The Great British Bake Off.” (Keep it coming, BBC!) At one point, everyone in the show had to tackle the tricky ‘pear pie.” Have you seen photos of (or maybe even eaten) these pretty poached pears wrapped in puff pastry? Apparently, mastering these little beauties is more difficult and time consuming than it appears. After seeing everyone on the show struggle with pear pie after pear pie– poaching pears, cooling them down and glazing them, and then oh so carefully wrapping them in puff pastry– I had little desire to make my own. It did, however, most definitely cause me to start craving the un-glazed and pastry free Poached Pears with Cardamom.
Poached Pears, unlike pear pies, are incredibly easy and fast to make. Obviously, you’re going to need pears, and they should be ripe. I normally buy pears when they’re totally unripe (they’ll be hard like an apple), and let them ripen at room temperature for a few days (or sometimes even a week). Once they’ve started to soften, see if you can move the stem around a little bit by pushing on the fruit around the stem. If the pears are ripe, but you aren’t ready to use them, stick them in the fridge and they’ll keep longer. Do not, however, put them in the fridge before they’re ripe, or they won’t ripen. If your pears get too soft and over-ripe, they’ll get mealy. No one wants that– don’t let it happen to you.
Usually Bosc pears are recommended for baking or poaching, but to get Bocs pears I have to make a special trip to a different grocery store (i.e.- Aldi doesn’t carry them on a normal basis. Or ever, that I’ve seen). I would make this pilgrimage to the other market, but the somewhat easier to find Bartlett pears are also delicious when poached. Use either pear.
Making Poached Pears
This recipe is incredibly simple. All you have to do is pour the wine, water, cardamom, and whatever sweetener you want (I use honey, you can use sugar, agave syrup, sorghum, or molasses) into a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat to take it down to a simmer. Poach the pears about 10 minutes, then add lime juice and poach them about 5 more minutes. They’re finished when you can pierce them with a fork. Take your pears out of the liquid, and serve them with whatever yummy toppings you want.
Want more easy dessert ideas? Try these:
Poached Pears with Cardamom
- 4 ripe pears, peeled (optional- cut in half and core)
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey (or sub molasses or sorghum)
- 1-2 cardamom pods, crushed
- ~1/4 cup lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
- To Serve (optional): chocolate syrup, coconut flakes, or ice cream
Bring wine, water, honey, and cardamom to a boil in a medium saucepan (it should be big enough to hold all your pears, but small enough that you don't have to use extra wine to cover the pears).
Lower heat to medium and add pears. Simmer for 10 minutes and add lime juice. Simmer 5 more minutes. Pears are ready when they can be easily pierced with a fork. Serve with optional toppings.