Poached pears are one of my favourite fruit desserts. They can be eaten either hot or cold, on their own, or with vanilla ice cream. They make an elegant dinner party dessert that you can make ahead of time, so you have less to worry about during the night. And even if you want to serve them hot then they will simmer on their own while you eat the main course.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 conference pears
  • 120g sugar
  • 120mls water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 pimento berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 600ml Marques de Caceres Rioja

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact and cut off the bottoms so that the pears can stand.
  2. In a smallish pan bring the sugar, water and spices to a simmer. The pan needs to be big enough to accommodate all of the pears, but small enough to create a deep poaching liquid.
  3. Simmer for a few minutes then add the wine. Once it has returned to a gentle boil add the pears. You can either stand them up or lay them down in the liquid. 
  4. Let them simmer for 40 minutes, turning from time to time so that they are poached on all sides.
  5. Remove from the pan and set aside while you reduce the syrup further. 5 to 10 minutes should be enough. But if you prefer you can simply reserve the poaching liquid and keep it in a container for up to a week in the fridge, to use again.
  6. Serve with some syrup and vanilla ice cream. Or just as they are.