I’m still mourning the end of summer fruit. Don’t get me wrong – I’m in love with apples of all varieties but I desperately miss fresh cherries, Georgia peaches and juicy black plums. So as we’re squarely in fall now and moving towards winter and as I try to get over my summer fruit grief, I’m trying to broaden our scope passed apples, bananas, and clementines (squee!!).
Pears are the perfect solution for this. I’ve baked with them a couple of times in the past and I occasionally eat them fresh as a snack but we’ve got one not so little problem in our house with fresh pears: Kyle is allergic to them. Actually, he’s allergic to quite a few uncooked fruits and vegetables (we think it has to do with pollen contamination on the food) so…Cooked = yay! Uncooked = get the Epi pen ready. And since he used to love eating pears pre-allergy onset, I decided to find a healthy way for him to be able to eat them now.
And really, these poached pears aren’t really any different than what you would buy canned at the store but hello! They’re homemade! Add whatever spices you’d like (an option you’ll never get in a can), cut out all of the preservatives, and say goodbye to the heavy syrup. This recipe takes less than a half hour to make and it makes enough for both Kyle and I to snack on during the week. We pack them up in re-useable containers for our lunches but I’m definitely sure that they would be stellar served warm over ice cream, perhaps with a caramel drizzle. In case you want to go the sugar route with them…
Vanilla-Spiced Poached Pears
source: adapted from David Lebovitz
Feel free to use whatever add-ins you would like for these pears. I’ve suggested a vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and star anise but you could opt for whole cloves, vanilla extract/paste, ground cinnamon, lemon or orange zest (and maybe some of their respective juices), or sliced ginger (because pear-ginger bread is fantastic). Use whatever you’d like or no add-ins at all!
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 medium firm pears like Bosc, Bartlett, or D’Anjou; peeled, cored, and sliced into 8ths lengthwise
- 1 vanilla bean, seeded
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole star anise
- Heat water and sugar in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Slide in the pears into the water and add the vanilla bean seeds and pod, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
- Partially cover the pan with the lid and gently simmer the pears for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender but not falling apart. Cool the pears off the heat in their juices, remove the bean pod, cinnamon sticks, and anise then transfer the pears with some of the juice (the rest can be discarded) to an airtight container and chill. Serve cold or warm with or without the juice. Pears will keep for up to a week.